On September 17, 2011, a group of several hundred demonstrators from all over New York and other parts of the country gathered at Liberty Plaza Park (now Zuccotti Park) outside the New York Stock Exchange for a massive and organized act of civil resistance.
The movement, called Occupy Wall Street, is a sleep-in and moving demonstration around Wall Street that started three weeks ago, and continues today, protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed and the influence of corporate money on elections, government and lawmaking.
Occupy Wall Street – which refers to itself as “a leaderless movement” (void of any particular group affiliation) – most of all is a protest of the outward greed of Wall Street Banks – the same global community of banks that created the mortgage crisis. It is the same mortgage crisis that helped send America into a financial debacle and that, even after being bailed out through tax payers dollars, refuse to support legislation requiring they pay their fair share of taxes because, they argue, they are the “job creators.”
"We are the 99 percent," chant the demonstrators, contrasting themselves with the wealthiest one percent of Americans.
Although slow to grab the media’s attention initially, since the protest’s start, several unions, college students and many other small groups have joined the movement. Now, even local elected officials are starting to voice their support, treading cautiously still, since the movement claims no single affiliation.
City Councilmember Letitia James, of Fort Greene/Clinton Hill and parts of Bed-Stuy stopped by the protest a few days ago with Councilmember Jumaane Williams.
"I am in support of labor and in support of the youth. And when working families are under attack, I believe in shared sacrifice,” James told Bed-Stuy Patch of the Occupy Wall Street movement.