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Monday, September 3, 2012

Ronnie Seegars, an accidental 99 Percenter

Ronnie Seegars was in the shade behind the stage, a position that allowed him to hear the tenor of each speech but not the words. Plus, the protesters’ messages were playing second fiddle to R. Kelly, whose music Seegars was listening to on headphones.

Eventually the 48-year-old Charlotte resident was approached by a one-armed man from Minnesota, who, among other bits of conversation, asked Seegars if he ever gets depressed. Seegars said no, but the man kept asking. “Finally, I was like, '95 percent of the time I got a positive mind. If that only leaves 5 percent of the time, I can live with that.’”

Twenty-eight years ago, Seegars was involved in a car accident that damaged his C5 and C6 vertebrae, leaving him unable to use his legs and confining him to a motorized wheelchair. He worked at Sam’s Club until about four years ago, when he was let go, he says, because he was too expensive.

In other words, he’s a part of the 99 Percent.

He comes to Frazier Park every day but made a point to be there Sunday morning at a time that coincided with the rally held by the Coalition to March on Wall Street South.

“I want to see what everybody’s talking about. Yeah, they look pretty successful. I guess they have a couple hundred people here.”

Seegars spends a lot of his time riding through the park or heading to Uptown to watch the Panthers practice.

“My psychologist said I was an unusual person. Nothing gets to me.” When asked what he would advocate for, he says, “Just waking up in the morning. Seeing another day.”

Still, there are injustices that nag at him, like people looking at him like he’s a charity case or teenagers carrying nine-millimeter handguns. He’s tired of the rich getting richer. “I just want a little peace in the world.”

Seegars will spend Monday at the Democratic National Convention’s Labor Day festival, where he hopes to see people from every where congregating in one place, his city. If you see him, he might have his earphones in.

But he’s listening.

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