I’m all for a movement that speaks out against economic injustice and corporate wealth. So when the Occupy movement broke in Los Angeles on October 1st, I took myself, my camera, and ok, a few ounces of skepticism.
Nearly a month later, protestors remain at City Hall in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, a movement that continues to sprout across the country and around the world (Occupy Tijuana started last weekend). While OWS has been plagued with criticism, mostly for the lack of its clear message, the issue of racial diversity has been particularly prevalent, and until recently, had not gained much media coverage.
During the first weekend of protests in L.A., people voiced their concerns about the movement the best way they knew how. Facebook and Twitter posts called attention to the disproportionately white crowds and the misrepresentation of people of color””those hardest hit by the economic crisis. The use of the word “occupy” has also been unsettling– alienating many from the movement because of its historical symbolism among indigenous people “occupied” in the U.S. and around the world. (Read about Decolonize Wall Street)
Around the country, participants and ‘occupy’ organizers have addressed the lack of racial inclusion. Occupy LA, for example, set up an Action Assembly “focused on reaching out to the diverse communities and neighborhoods that make up this city.” Occupy Wall Street has formed the People of Color Working Group “not meant to divide, but to unite, all peoples.” While “Occupy the Hood,” a sub-movement started by two activists in New York and Detroit which has now spread to several cities, also encourages people of color to get involved in the “occupy” movement. Thanks to a reader, for reminding us about the Indigenous Peoples Committee at Occupy LA.
UPDATE: A rally is scheduled to take place in front of City Hall’s South Lawn fountain at 4:40 pm Wednesday, October 26 followed by a march at 5pm to Corazon Del Pueblo for an discussion on occupy movement. See details below.
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This story was originally published in MisNeighbors.com