It’s Time to ‘Occupy the Dream’
African-American Faith Community Joins Forces with Occupy Wall Street—First Day of Action on MLK Day, January 16 at Federal Reserve Banks
Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day—Monday, January 16, 2012—when they will “Occupy the Federal Reserve,” in multiple cities nationwide (Chicago, DC, Federal Reserve, Liberty Park, Los Angeles, Memphis, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis, and more) focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99 percent by the financial elite. This will be the first of many actions leading up to a mass gathering in Washington D.C., to be held April 4-7, when millions will unite in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr King.1
The Occupy the Dream coalition was launched by a contemporary of Dr. King—Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.—and Reverend Dr. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple Church, in partnership with Occupy Wall Street organizers. The following statement in support of the Occupy the Dream coalition was prepared by over 30 Occupy Wall Street organizers and read at the National Press Club in Washington, DC:
“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for social and economic justice with a deep moral commitment to non-violent civil disobedience. His legacy inspires many of us on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“Nearly fifty years since hundreds-of-thousands of people marched with Dr. King and filled the nation’s capital, the dream that inspired our nation remains unfulfilled. As shocking as it is to believe, there is a more severe inequality of wealth in the United States today than there was back then. More Americans are living in poverty today than when Dr. King organized the Poor People’s Campaign.
“While the rich have grown richer, tens-of-millions of Americans have been exploited and left behind. In a time of great wealth and technological advancement, American families are desperately struggling to get by and to make ends meet.
“Our political, economic, and legal systems have become wholly corrupted through a system of political bribery. Through campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, our wealth has been consolidated into the hands of the few at the expense and suffering of the many.
“Many of our brothers and sisters lead lives dominated by fear. Fear of losing a home. Fear of losing a job. Fear of losing medical coverage. Fear of losing the ability to provide food for our families. And for far too many, these fears have already become a reality.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement is about people coming together to say, ‘enough is enough.’ Our families have endured economic oppression for too long. The Occupy Wall Street movement draws its strength from people of all different walks of life, with opinions across the political spectrum, coming together to find common ground and unite against the global financial interests that have bought control of our government.
“Dr. King’s vision of economic justice is an edifying example of what we intend to achieve. The Occupy movement has become a powerful force by occupying communities throughout the country. The time has now come for us to embody the spirit of Dr. King and for us to ‘Occupy the Dream.’
“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the African-American Faith community in this campaign for economic fairness and justice. We are all in this fight together. We all want a healthy and secure future for our families. In the absence of a government that will defend and represent us, we are now taking it upon ourselves to stand up and defend our own families.
“It is a great honor today to join with the spirit of Dr. King, to join with heroes of the civil rights movement, luminaries of the faith community, pioneers in music and all of you in attendance.
“It is a great honor today to announce the birth of the ‘Occupy the Dream’ movement.”
Facebook: Occupy the Dream
— OccupyDream.org, December 15, 2011
1In support of this effort, StudioOccupy.org has created this inspiring video: