Love blooms in Zuccotti Park: Protesting Occupy Wall Street lovebirds tie the knot
Activists met at protest in September
Originally Published: Sunday, November 13 2011, 1:27 PM
Two lovebirds who met protesting Wall Street in Zuccotti Park tied the knot Sunday morning at a humble ceremony in a small corner of the ongoing demonstration.
In front of about a dozen friends and onlookers, Emery Abdel-Latif, 24, and Micha Balon, 19, held a traditional Muslim wedding on Trinity Place and Liberty Street, perched on a small bench next to the park's famous sculpture of a seated man with a briefcase.
“We have to be able to understand truly how unique this relationship is,” said Khalid Latif, the chaplain at New York University who married the eager duo.
“You have been given a deep blessing today,” he said.
The two activists met in September when they were trying to find a space in the crowded park to pray. They immediately hit it off.
A month later, they both knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together - without delay.
“We met here and it’s cheap. We don’t have to pay anything,” said the giddy bride, dressed in a white skirt and blouse with a small cloak.
“I'm really glad God has granted me someone who cares about people in this world other than himself.”
Balon, a Hunter College student from Staten Island studying human rights and Middle East studies, said marrying in Zuccotti Park’s “sacred space” ensured their life together was starting on the right note.
“This is a good way not to make the marriage about ourselves,” she said. “We are fighting for equality here. This is a great way to start off our marriage.”
Abdel-Latif, a prospective law student from West Chester County, Pa., said Balon changed his life.
“I'm not sure I believed in love before I met her,” he said. “She's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
After they sealed the deal, the small crowd applauded and the couple scrambled to take wedding photos amid the sea of tents.
“I think it’s a cute love story - one of the cutest I've ever heard,” said Quainat Zaman, 19, a college friend of Balon’s.
In another part of the park, a huge phalanx of volunteer doctors and nurses dispensed free flu shots to protect the protesters with winter looming.
“We're getting 99 doctors and nurses here to help the 99%,” said Dr. John Jacoby with Physicians for a National Health Program. “We are here to say that everyone needs health care.”
Dr. Mary O'Brien, who was helping out, said: “Many people here are young and healthy. We'd like to keep them that way.”