Post edited 1:33 am – December 19, 2011 by seshata
December 15, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street movement is gaining allies. Our reporter tells us who they are and what they
plan to do.
Protesters of the Occupy movement are spreading their wings – joining forces with veterans of the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, and African-American churches.
In Washington, civil rights icon Benjamin Chavis announced the formation of Occupy The Dream.
David Degraw is with Occupy Wall Street in New York.
“This is a very diverse movement as it stands right now," said Degraw. "But obviously we need to do more work to get into the African-American communities and to get into all different ethnic backgrounds, the Latino community as well.”
The African American leaders were drawn in by the issue of income inequality. More than 15 percent of black Americans are unemployed, compared with an overall jobless rate of 8.6 percent.
Occupy The Dream has three immediate demands: an increase in federal grants for university education, a halt to home foreclosures, and a $100 billion fund from Wall Street banks for new jobs and neighborhood investment.
Benjamin Chavis worked with civil rights leader Martin Luther King in the 1960s, and mobilized a million-man march onWashington in the 1990s.
“The traditional civil rights movement was at its strongest point 40 of 50 years ago when it had a strong coalition between African Americans, organized labor, progressive white liberal groups, all working together," said Chavis. "And that is what we have to rebuild.”
Occupy The Dream plans its first action for January 16th, the Martin Luther King holiday, at Federal Reserve Bank locations around the country. Reverend Jamal-Harrison Bryant is a spokesman for Occupy The Dream.
“Every 30 days Americais going to see something until we freeze the entire economic system and they realize we are about serious business," said Reverend Bryant.
The response at Occupy camps around the country has been positive, although in the past, Occupy protesters
have avoided formal links to other groups. Kevin Zeese is with Occupy in Washington's Freedom Plaza.
“Having the African-American faith community hear that call and respond is a gigantic step forward," said Zeese. "The potential for that is hard to imagine.”
David Degraw says this is only the beginning. They plan to draw in other partners and build a bigger Occupy movement through the spring. http://www.voanews.com/english…..96648.html
Post edited 11:33 am – December 18, 2011 by seshata
BlackChurch, Athletes, Entertainers to ‘Occupy the Dream’
by Alexis Taylor
The Rev. Dr. JamalHarrison-Bryant announces the Black Church’s entrance into the Occupy movement as the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis gives assent.
Americans nationwide have watched for weeks as police forces have taken action against Occupy Wall Street and its sister Occupy movements across the country. One by one encampments filled with peaceful protesters have been met with riot gear, tear gas, pepper spray and eviction notices. Now, nearly 100 days into the struggle, movements
across the country are not only gaining attention but a major new supporter as well: the black church.
“I think it’s appropriate for the black church, the black community, and the civil rights family to join hand in hand with what ‘Occupy’ is doing,” said the Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison-Bryant, leader of the newly formed Occupy the Dream, a collection of over 1000 concerned African-American clergy, business owners, entertainers, and professional athletes. Joining forces with Occupy Wall Street in protest of greedy practices on Wall Street and in
big corporations, Dr. Bryant said the movement has “taken the methodology of the black church in the civil rights movement and brought it to the 21 Century.”
Pastor of the 10,000 member EmpowermentTemplein Baltimore, and former national director of the NAACP’s Youth
and College division, Dr. Bryant found a way to support the movement after Russell Simmons asked him to help infuse an African American voice. Teaming up with David Degraw and Shamar Thomas of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy the Dream was formally announced Dec. 14 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Along with Dr. Bryant, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., former executive director and CEO of the NAACP, will be in attendance for the
Bringing to the forefront the importance of a minority participation in the Occupy movement, Occupy the Dream will hold major demonstrations every month in 10 to 15 select cities across the nation. The first demonstration will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2012, outside Federal Reserve Banks around the nation.
Teaming up with entertainers such as Bon Jovi, Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, and Kanye West, Dr. Bryant encourages citizens of every race, color and creed to join Occupy the Dream. Wall Street, big banks, and politicians who thought the movement would go away now have a new entity to fight, and “every thirty days we’re coming at the system again,” said Dr. Bryant.
“We will demonstrate to Americathat the economy has handicapped the people. Churches are mobilizing across the country even now to participate. We’re calling people to come to the cities in wheelchairs, crutches, and casts to pile up at the door so there is a visual image of what it means to be handicapped in this economy,” said Dr. Bryant. “With schools being closed and people being off work, this is not a day to watch TV or be in the mall, this is the next step in the Civil Rights Movement.
Having begun Sept. 17 in New York City’s financial district, the Occupy movement has had many aspects to its overall theme: end the greed of the big banks and Wall Street. Since its inception, Occupy movements have taken on issues such as the school to prison pipeline, cuts to important entitlements for senior citizens, and tax breaks for the evaporating middle class instead of the wealthy. http://www.afro.com/sections/n…..ryid=73443
Post edited 11:45 am – December 18, 2011 by seshata
Occupy the Dream
by Michael Carmichael
Yesterday, something wonderful happened in America.
Yesterday was the day the American Civil Rights Movement merged their hopes and dreams with Occupy Wall Street.
Led by Dr. Ben Chavis, civil rights leaders announced the formation of Occupy the Dream, an organization to mobilize Americans around the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who sought to wage war on poverty, unemployment and economic injustice. Dr. Chavis announced that the first major march of Occupy the Dream will take place on Martin Luther King Day, January 16, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore with 10,000 members, joined Dr. Chavis at the National Press Club where they rallied their followers together with leading advocates of Occupy Wall Street.
Launching their movement, Dr. Bryant explained the crisis now facing many Americans in stark but eloquent terms:
Ladies and Gentlemen, in just a few days, about 200,000 of our sons and daughters will be returning back to the United States in a large way indicating the end of the war in the Middle East. Regrettably they are going to be coming to another war. It's not going to be a War on Terror as indicated by then-President Bush. It's not even going to be a War on Drugs implemented by Nancy Reagan or a War on Obesity by Michelle Obama – but they're going to be coming into a war on poverty – a war on poverty, unemployment and economic inequality and greed has in fact ravaged our nation down to its core.
Defining the merger of the movements explicitly, Dr. Chavis announced the historic coalition:
When Dr. King articulated the dream, it was inclusive. It is in our interests to build coalitions beyond ourselves. In fact, that is what the beauty of today represents. We are not trying to achieve economic equality and leave others in economic inequality. If you want justice, you've got to have justice for everybody. If you are for economic equality, you've got to have economic equality for everybody.
Kevin Zeese of Occupy Wall Street/Washington DC affirmed his enthusiasm for the expansion of the OWS movement:
"I think this is a very important step toward the American Spring. . . . This American Spring is going to be a historic, transformative movement. It's going to be a moment in history that's going to change things in ways that they can't imagine. It's going to be a moment in history that dominates the year more than the presidential campaign does."
Although he was not present at the National Press Club, Russell Simmons has been instrumental in promoting the expansion of the Occupy Wall Street movement. From his offices in New York, Simmons issued the following statement:
It was Dr. King's dream that the civil rights community would come together with the unions and cultural icons, and they would produce a revolution that would promote economic equality in this country. I have been there to witness the energy and the courage and have been inspired by these young creative people who have a high aspiration for our country, who are politically astute and who are themselves inspired to make this country greater.
Dr. Benjamin Chavis is a veteran civil rights icon who served as an aide and acolyte to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While working with the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ, Dr. Chavis came into direct conflict with highly organized racists who opposed the desegregation of public schools in Wilmington, North Carolina. The clash resulted in the Wilmington Ten trial and imprisonment of ten civil rights workers who served substantial time in prison before they were exonerated in federal court.
Rising through the ranks of the civil rights movement to become Vice President of the National Council of Churches, Dr. Chavis went on to serve as Executive Director of the NAACP. In 1995, Dr. Chavis was appointed to the post of Executive Director of the Million Man March.
In recent years, Dr. Chavis has worked with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons to energize and activate the music industry and its huge audience around the cause of civil rights and economic justice.
An important episode in Dr. Chavis' life as a civil rights leader was novelized by the acclaimed author, Timothy Tyson, in his bestselling book, Blood Done Sign My Name. The movie starred Nate Parker in the role of the young Benjamin Chavis. Dr. Chavis has appeared in the film Belly, and in Spike Lee's, Get on the Bus, a fictional but compelling account of the Million Man March.
At the press conference, David Degraw of OWS, said, "Dr. Chavis, of course, his entire life has been a battle. He's led the way. . . . Are you ready to go another couple of rounds?"
To that question, Dr. Chavis responded, "Absolutely."
Somehow, very tangibly, Occupy the Dream seems like a gigantic and brilliantly wrapped Christmas present to the 99%. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..52329.html
Best Opinion: Occupy Wall Street seems "like a movement that would resonate with black Americans," says Stacey Patton at The Washington Post. The unemployment rate for blacks is nearly twice that of white Americans — 15 percent versus 8 — "and blacks have a rich history of protesting injustice in the United States." And yet a recent survey suggests that African Americans, who make up 12.6 percent of the nation's population, represent just 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Streeters. Why aren't blacks joining the anti-bank movement?
Black leaders deserve some blame: Black churches, which helped "end segregation through meetings, marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and sit-ins," have largely been silent on Occupy, says Patton at The Washington Post. Plus, civil rights organizations like the NAACP and the United Negro College Fund "appear to be selling out black America for corporate money," worrying more about wooing major donors than sticking up for ordinary black Americans. "We can't expect our civil rights organizations and political leaders to help blacks rage against the corporate machine when they are part of it." "Why African Americans aren't embracing Occupy Wall Street"
Occupy has failed to reach out to blacks: "The faces of stark economic injustice are not downtown in Zuccotti Park, but uptown, stranded on Harlem's street corners," says Hanqing Chen at Policy Mic. Zuccotti, which had a "kitchen, phone-charging station, and comfort station," was home to "pampered middle-class workers play-acting poverty." Let's quit "fetishizing Zuccotti Park" and start actively spreading Occupy's principles to lower-income, minority communities, "the bottom half of the 99 percent." "Occupy the hood: Why OWS needs to focus on communities like Harlem"
Plus, Occupiers' sense of martyrdom insults many blacks: "Police brutality in America did not begin" with Occupy, says BlackCanseco at Angry Black Lady. "I have seen what happens when you occupy black skin in the presence of a police officer." For every Occupier howling about pepper spray, there are "hundreds of unarmed black men" who've been unjustly shot by the cops. It's "selfishly blind" that such incidents don't "even register as blips on OWS's radar." And don't think this glaring fact "has been lost on the millions of people of color who have yet to join the Occupy movement." "Open Letter to #OWS: 'Oh, so NOW Police Brutality matters?!'"
Why are we assuming blacks even want to join Occupy? Patton suggests that blacks have somehow missed the boat by failing to join Occupy, says Ann Althouse at her blog. But it borders on offensive to assume that an Occupy movement sparked by "left-wing economic ideology" would beckon to blacks the same way the civil rights protests of the 1960s did. "Occupy Wall Street is 'overwhelmingly white'"
Russell Simmons comes to Occupy LA to discuss his constitutional amendment, the image of the movement and its future. Music by Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly and The Foreign Exchange. Filmed and edited by Sandrine Orabona.
On Sunday, December 18th, 2011 Dr. Rev. Jamal Bryant of the AME Empowerment Temple in Baltimore gave a powerful sermon on the Occupy Movement. This is a must watch video. Dr. Bryant is the national spokesperson for Occupy the Dream which brings the African community together with the Occupy Movement.
Since Dr. Bryant mentions Republicans and Democrats we need to make clear that the Occupy Movement is non-partisan, does not endorse candidates nor is it aligned with any political party. We take the approach that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. took to the political parties. In Let the Trumpet Sound, the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King is quoted as saying: "I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either." In The Papers of Martin Luther King he wrote " "I don't think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I'm not inextricably bound to either party." During a sermon he described being offered money by both parties but said "I could not sacrifice my soul to the structure of partisan politics." He explained further: "Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats [today, these would be Blue Dog Democrats]. The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights."
We take Dr. King's words on politics seriously and believe the only way we will make change is to build an independent movement that challenges both parties to listen to the people rather than money. In this powerful sermon he describes the economic inequalities that have led to the Occupy Movement in ways that reach people deeply and move people to action.
What happened in Iowa only represents the latest regressive manifestation of how huge amounts of money are used to not only fund negative attack ads and to the determine to winner of the political process, but more importantly exposes how the cruel manipulation of American democracy continues.
Getting the "greed money" out of politics is now an urgent growing public demand. We have seen first hand how some in the ranks of the 1% that control the wealth of the nation will take any measure necessary to satisfy their narrow political will and exclusive ideology all at the expense of our democracy.
There is no accountability nor full disclosure of the greedy "hidden" damp hands that predetermine the outcome of elections across the nation. On Tuesday, the charade went down in Iowa. Next it will be in New Hampshire, then in South Carolina, Florida and so on. This is why we need a Constitutional Amendment to make elections publicly financed and free from monetary corruption. Let's stop this disgrace!
Income inequality leads to economic injustice that undermines basic fairness and democracy. Both Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr demanded economic equality and justice for all. Occupy the Dream/Occupy Wall Street is now mobilizing throughout the country to challenge these inequities and to restore equal opportunity and a participatory democracy for all where the dream of freedom, justice and equality will be a reality for
Occupy the Dream: remembering Martin Luther King – video
To mark Martin Luther King Day, a US federal holiday commemorating the civil rights leader, protesters in New York held a candlelight vigil before marching on the Federal Reserve. The Occupy the Dream movement is calling for more money for college students, an end to home foreclosures and a $100bn fund from Wall Street for new jobs
n 16 cities around the country, ministers from African-American churches offered a unified set of demands as they served notice that they are joining the Occupy movement. The demonstrations took place at Federal Reserve banks because, as the organizers explained, it was the Fed that bailed out the banks and Wall Street while Main Street was left to suffer.
In Washington DC, the Reverend Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore spelled out the demands in front of the Federal Reserve headquarters.
The first demand is campaign finance reform. Rev. Bryant said elections should not be about who can raise the most money, and for any reform to come out of Washington money has to be removed from the equation.
The second demand is to expand Pell Grants so our youth will no longer be burdened by debt from student loans. Rev. Bryant said, "It is a travesty that there is more student loan debt in this country than there is credit card debt. There are more students struggling to pay their debt than people paying off their flat screen TVs."
Many young people participated in the Occupy the Dream rally in front of the Federal Reserve in Washington DC, 01/16/12.
(photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Occupy the Dream's third demand is an immediate moratorium on foreclosures. Rev. Bryant said current estimates are that four million families will lose their homes between now and April. The demand is for foreclosures to halt until a plan is put in place to assist the victims of predatory lending.
The fourth demand is for Congress to allocate $100 billion dollars to put people back to work. They are calling for the money to be allocated in three areas: job training, seed money for entrepreneurs, and money to rebuild our infrastructure.
Today's rallies were designed to pick up the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Many in Dr. King's family believe that one of the reasons he was killed was that he was planning to Occupy the National Mall until the Viet Nam War ended. Rev. Bryant said this year, instead of "… resting and reflecting on the past, we are honoring Dr. King by making history, and beginning a new push to achieve his dream."
Sgt. Shamar Thomas and Reverend Jamal Bryant lead a picket line in front of the Federal Reserve in Washington DC,
as part of an Occupy the Dream rally, 01/16/12. (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)
Another focus of the Occupy the Dream movement will be to hit the banks where it will hurt. They are calling for everyone to move their money from the big banks to minority-owned or community banks and credit unions. February 14th will be the day of the initial push. They will then extend the effort to professionals in the African-American community – doctors, lawyers and others. The third push will encourage churches to move their money. Rev. Bryant said the goal was to "Let the banks know that it's our money and they need to treat us with respect."
Rev. Bryant is a national co-chair for the Occupy the Dream movement. The other co-chair is former NAACP Director Dr. Ben Chavis. Dr. Chavis led the Occupy the Dream rally in New York City, where hundreds marched and four were arrested.
Occupy the Dream is also building a National Mobilization to Washington DC, which is scheduled for April 4th – 7th.
Scott Galindez is the Political Director of Reader Supported News, and the co-founder of Truthout.
Post edited 11:00 am – February 3, 2012 by seshata
Broadcast Date: 30 Jan. 2012
Blacks have for the most part been on the outskirts of the Occupy Movement. January 16, on the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday African American faith leaders, activists and entertainers join the Occupy Movement with Occupy the Dream.
They will protest at the Federal Reserve Bank in DC and others around the country. Why are they getting involved now? Why protest the Federal Reserve?
Congressman Ron Paul wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, do they support him? What place do they see for the African American community in the Occupy Movement? How can they get other African Americans involved? What is their message to America?