Although Occupy Wall Street began as the rabble rousing of a few hundred angry citizens who sought to challenge the “corporate greed” of Wall Street, the movement is quickly picking up new allies and expanding its ranks. The latest to join? A newly formed group called the People of Color Working Group, who says the Occupy Wall Street cause should strike a chord with African-Americans and other racial minorities in the country given the economic issues that affect Blacks and other minority groups disproportionally, like high rates of unemployment.
Occupy Wall Street contends that it represents the 99 percent of the country that isn’t part of the super-rich elite and who is suffering from the greedy practices of Wall Street. The People of Color working group recently issued a statement “calling out” people of color, asking them to seize the opportunity to bring international awareness to problems in the community and the nation at large.
“Let’s be real. The economic crisis did not begin with the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in 2008. Indeed, people of color and poor people have been in a state of crisis since the founding of this country, and for indigenous communities, since before the founding of the nation. We have long known that capitalism serves only the interests of a tiny, mostly white, minority.
“Black and brown folks have long known that whenever economic troubles ‘necessitate’ austerity measures and the people are asked to tighten their belts, we are the first to lose our jobs, our children’s schools are the first to lose funding, and our bodies are the first to be brutalized and caged. Only we can speak this truth to power. We must not miss the chance to put the needs of people of color — upon whose backs this country was built — at the forefront of this struggle.”
Although the group is composed of concerned people of color, they make clear that their goal is inclusion.
“The People of Color Working Group is not meant to divide, but to unite, all peoples. Our hope is that we, the 99%, can move forward together, with a critical understanding of how the greed, corruption, and inequality inherent to capitalism threatens the lives of all peoples and the Earth,” the group said.
(Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)