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The “Occupy” Movement and Diversity

The “Occupy” Movement and Diversity

By Yarisa Colon for Global Voices, Translated by Elizabeth Rivera

One month since the initial occupation of the financial district of New York City, Wall Street, collective actions in the city have continued to diversify while people have taken over new public spaces. Activists and organizations from the BronxBrooklynWashington HeigthsEast Harlem and Jamaica neighborhoods of Queens that — for a long time — have resisted political, economic and social inequalities, are now also expressing their indignation.

Malik Rashan, one of the founders of the movement to integrate communities, Occupy the Hood, explains that he noticed the absence of African-American and Latinos at Liberty Plaza and decided to summon them. The movement Occupy the Hood (@OccupyTheHood) has expanded to various cities in the USA in an attempt to expand the presence of people from different races and nationalities in the occupy movement.

Here is an interview with Malik posted by Eliad19606 to YouTube:

People of Color /#OccupyWallStreet was created for the same reason. This group is looking to “develop critical conscience about the movement” and to continue integrating the most affected people during the economic crisis.

In their website, there is an archive of their past actions and minutes of their meetings. One minute, for example, announces their alliance with the dance group Mexica, who performed at Wall Street on October 10th, in tribute to Mother Earth. You can read two articles on this event, “Dispatches from Indigenous People’s Day Part 12“, by Thanu Yakupitiyage and Saara Azadi, respectively.

In this video published by Thanuska on YouTube, there is a fragment of the ceremony:

Clearly, while protests continue on the streets, newspapers, the Internet, on TV, and in our minds, people will be motivated to ask how can they honor their multiple histories, identities and struggles and — at the same time — fight together for a deep transformation of society.  In fact, there has been an interesting debate on the use of the concept “occupy” to define this movement. People from different races, ethnicities and cultures have been discussing and reflecting on the meaning of “occupation” in their lives and contexts. It is a debate that evidences the challenge of building an inclusive and horizontal movement.

It is well explained by activist and writer Harsha Walia in her letter to Occupy Together movement:

Embracing this plurality and having an open heart to potentially uncomfortable truths about systemic oppression beyond the ‘evil corporations and greedy banks’ will strengthen this movement. Ignoring the hierarchies of power between us does not make them magically disappear. It actually does the opposite – it entrenches those inequalities.

To read the full text, visit the blog in front and center: critical voices of the 99%. This digital platform presents voices of marginalized communities that are essential in the discussions that are taking place presently.

This post first appeared at Global Voices and is part of their special coverage #Occupy Worldwide

Related Stories:

Does America’s Fortune Ride on Two Numbers? – 9/11 and 99:1

Students Support Occupy Wall Street, Shut Down Traffic

The 99% Harness the Power of Song

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30 comments

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1:04PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

Some good comments.

12:25AM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

It's not just a middle class cause, it is also the lower class, limited income class (aka retirees) cause.

5:36PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Funny how Frank W. either forgets or overtly omits the word Democracy in his comment! He and Jeffrey are both capitalists who seem to not be able to acknowledge that we are first a democracy, and second a capitalism. For a democracy to function properly we need to get capitalism out of politics. But of course the republicans want the opposite!

12:14AM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:49PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

OWS is not solving anything. It is stating the problem.

The problem is not one problem but a completely multifaceted mire of them, so giving a sound bite as to what the message is is impossible.

OWS is messy.
Yup.
It isn't perfect.
Nope.

The Movement will grow because it has to.
What recourse do people have? Just sit by idly while their kids starve?

You 'armchair activists' should be thanking these people for giving a sh*t and trying to do something besides let everything you hold near and dear just shrivel up and die while you watch it on TV.

4:38PM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

As commented, "something will come out of this". Something is called awareness, already birthing but not yet grown up. Still, with no leader, no Mission Statement, segmented solidarity for sub-causes (all valid) rather than one main baseline from which to branch out into specifics, a movement toward awareness will produce just that, awareness. Fractured along the way, producing minimal if any needed reversal for the long-term. Knowledge comes first, willingness to implement change comes second. So what's to be done?Riot ... overthrow ... VOTE with knowledge and purpose.

9:31AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

Please check out World Music on Link TV Independent Television without borders: On Dish Network: Channel 9410 On Direct TV Ch. 375 Also Amy Goodman "Democracy Now" The War and Peace Report. This media has not been shut down or censored (as yet) by government, probably could be if the Reptilian Corporate Parasitic Vampires of the Reich Wing of the Repugliscum buys off the 2012 Election with the 7 Billion committed by Koch Bros. Stand Up Speak Up, Join in brothers and sisters "WE are all in this together, WE can do better, the price of Silence is far too High" World Music Link TV.

9:28AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

Please check out World Music on Link TV Independent Television without borders: On Dish Network : Channel 9410 On Direct TV Ch. 375 Also Amy Goodman "Democracy Now" The War and Peace Report. This media has not been shut down or censored (as yet) by government, probably would be if the Reptilian Corporate Parasitic Vampires of the Reich Wing of the Repugliscum buys off the 2012 Election with the 7 Billion committed by Koch Bros. Stand Up Speak Up, Join in brothers and sisters "WE are all in this together, WE can do better, the price of Silence is far too High" World Music Link TV.

8:07AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

Are we to be afraid of those people in the shadows, this 1%, the one's that put Bush and Obama into the White House and you in the outhouse.

Have you were wondered if Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. was afraid while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, that fateful day in Memphis.

I wonder what Gandhi thought as the girl accompanying him told Godse, Gandhi's assassin "Brother, Bapu is already late". Moments before Godse shot him dead.

From the few (43) people willing to respond to this article, it appears that most are afraid, that the evildoers have won or have they. If winning means that they can now trod upon your rotting corpse, it seems to take something away from the word, meaning.

I ask of you, I demand that you...retake America and your very lives.

Join the Occupy Movement, were not hard to find, we are in every major city and town and we are growing, but we need you and you need us.

The Question that remains, Do YOU want to be free from Tyranny...after all, YOU are the 99%.

8:06AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

The 1% has stated that they have been wrongfully targeted and they have announced that they will begin a campaign against those traitors to capitalism, those greedy 99% activists.

The 1% have vowed to occupy a Hilton Hotel in every major city in the US, they have further vowed that they will not be removed, no matter how much it cost YOU, the American people.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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