Whenever there is a large-scale movement or protest in the United States, Black people’s issues have a tendency to be included at some point as a means to win Black supporters. However it seems that by the time the movement draws to a close, and the “majority’s” objective has been met, the issues that most affect Black people have been cast aside. Given that context, why should Black people feel compelled to get involved in the current Occupy Movement? When history tells Black people that their issues will be the first to be scratched from the list of demands, what incentive do they have to Occupy anywhere?
Take a look at The Civil War, for instance. The history books say the war was about whether or not to continue perpetuating the institution of slavery. Black soldiers, Union and Confederate alike were promised freedom, better living conditions and even land. However, after the start of the war, President Abraham Lincoln, historically known as “The Great Emancipator,” is quoted as saying, “If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it…” It is true that President Lincoln did go on to draft and sign the Emancipation Proclamation, but Black people’s rights were only taken off the back burner when it became politically convenient to do so.
The promises made during the Civil War, that Black people would be full and equal citizens, would take another hundred years to be federally enforced through the Civil Rights Act. This was a movement born out of the Black community itself, and certainly not a direct outcome of the Civil War. Similar experiences to that of what transpired during the Civil War were had by Black people during The Women’s Rights Movement of the 1920s and Anti-War movements in the 1960s.
While there has been an increase in black participation in the Occupy movement over the last couple of weeks, there still is a lot of speculation as to why there has not been a significant Black presence in the “Occupy” movement. Perhaps the Black community is looking to their history. Perhaps this is really an issue of trust. It is possible that the Black community is not eager to support a movement that they feel might, in the final analysis, cast their cares aside?
The only method to ensure our voices are heard and demands are met is to remember our history and get involved. Black people and people of color MUST OCCUPY and not let this movement pass us by.
There is no one “at the top of the Occupy thing”. We are a leaderless movement. I get my information directly from my own senses while participating in Occupy, not from the corporate-state media or, with all due respect, voices in my head.
Anyone who doesn’t think we should be front and center in the Occupy movement—or that many of us ALREADY have been since the beginning is:
One—Not paying attention.
Two—Getting their information from the corporate-state media.
Occupy The Hood | Twitter
Occupy The Hood stands in Solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement… It is imperative that the voice of POC is heard at this moment! We must not be forgotten as the world progresses to the next economical stage. We can all agree that the voices in our communities are especially needed in this humanitarian struggle. We are our future and we posses the energy needed to push the occupy movement to the next phase. We are The Least Represented We are Among The Ignored We are Among The Unemployed We are Considered The Under Educated We are Considered The Minority We are The Consumers But most importantly WE ARE THE HOOD!! The neighborHOODs is where the hearts of the people are. Our homes, our parks, our selves. It is in our best interest to have all abled voices heard to bring forth a peaceful solution in this world we have been given. There are millions of people that are effected by the Wall Street crisis. The questionable, unethical activities downtown Manhattan… and in Corporate America directly effects our economic struggles and the future of all business and personal endeavors. Mission ::: Our mission is to encourage individuals & community based organizations to be involved. We need to be present at General Assembly’s, sit-ins, marches and rallies, when and where needed. We must also initiate our own protests and boycotts. We will be seen and heard on our own, along-with and in unison with all the occupy-the-world movements until we bring forth a viable solution…. no matter how long it takes. Numbers speak volumes but the most important number to note at this time is the number one.. Our voices are going to blend as one. Malik Rashaan, Founder of The Official Occupy The Hood Ife Johari Uhuru, Co-Founder of The Official Occupy The Hood We Reserve all rights to the official name “Occupy The Hood”… We are NOT affiliated with anyone who is misrepresenting “Occupy The Hood” or looking to profit from the use of the name
,that’s a turn off .We don’t have Leaders,Black or White,the people in the movement are the Leaders .
earned tax dollars and we need to let them know they’ve stolen enough of it. If you’re a human being and among the 99%, get out and fight
like hell against these greedy rats.
As another white guy, over 60 and fearful of my future due to the recession/oppression, I feel for you.
I want to simply, supportively comment on part of your 3rd point, “I do not see color.”
Although that might be an ideal, a goal to work toward, it’s also a signal to some degree of our white privilege to think or say that. No person of color has the privilege to not think of and see race virtually continuously in this culture. They are reminded of it even in their homes, away from the rest of us.
I very much understand your sentiment as you expressed it and resonate with it to some degree — indeed, commend you for what you are trying to express. But I’m guessing that mine wasn’t the only wincing response that came with reading it.
Too many who wish to simply ignore issues of history and heritage use that line to try to erase the experience of race in America. And, tho’ I have never met you, I know you are not one of them.
All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose
Words by Woody Guthrie © 1942
Iâm gonna tell you fascists
You may be surprised
The people in this world
Are getting organized
Youâre bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose
Race hatred cannot stop us
This one thing we know
Your poll tax and Jim Crow
And greed has got to go
Youâre bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose.
All of you fascists bound to lose:
I said, all of you fascists bound to lose:
Yes sir, all of you fascists bound to lose:
Youâre bound to lose! You fascists:
Bound to lose!
People of every color
Marching side to side
Marching âcross these fields
Where a million fascists dies
Youâre bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!
Iâm going into this battle
And take my union gun
Weâll end this world of slavery
Before this battleâs won
Youâre bound to lose
You fascists bound to lose!
Thanks, too, to you, Stephanie! Particularly, thanks for your work and your passion for equality for lgbt people. It’s important work toward justice.
But there is something that seems to be missing in your analysis and, as Wilma points out, it’s a lack of appreciation for the history of the Black Church in bringing the African American community over very troubled waters.
I speak as a white gay man who has done a lot of work around white privilege when I say I’m appalled by the racism and classism that I sometimes encounter in the lgbt community. I would think that when one experiences discrimination, people would “get” the unfairness of all prejudice but that seems not to be always the case.
So yes, we all have work to do — work to secure our own rights and dignity, work to explore and eradicate inappropriate prejudices, work to create dialogue across differences and, as Wilma urges us, realize that “we have to agree on EVERYTHING in order to move toward a more inclusive and humane society.”
I urge us all to consider checking out OWS and bringing consciousness raising circles to the encampments around all the issues which humanity is struggling to overcome. And overcome them we shall if we work toward unity.
I maintain that there is overwhelming agreement on the majority of issues we face when it comes to the fight for humanity. I don’t know that we have to agree on EVERYTHING in order to move toward a more inclusive and humane society. It is always interesting to see how whites, liberal or conservative, are so sure of their answers for other people. I would hope I would at least try not to tell you what lesbians need, feel, or want but hopefully would listen to what they have to say about their own experiences. Whites have a habit of knowing what is right for people of color and then being pissed off when we don’t agree completely. Same problem in the middle east.
There are two main differences that I see between OWS and the previous movements you mention:
1.) that consciousness over systemic racism, white privilege and class privilege is much greater among those who are privileged. I’m not saying this awareness is widespread enough, but it is a strong consciousness running through parts of our culture.
2.) OWS has tremendous involvement from young people who are regarding issues of race much differently than previous generations.
Yes, we need to have input from the African American community as well as other marginalized communities. Please don’t sit on the sidelines questioning whether the movement can be trusted. Please make this movement your own.
We have strength in numbers when we unite our causes.
Just image, where whites find themselves ill because of the greed and corruption of the system, Blacks and other people of color find themselves DYING in ever increasing numbers.