Occupy Wall Street Plans Candlelight Vigil for MLK Day

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Occupy Wall Street protesters march through Soho. Occupy Wall Street protesters march through Soho. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Artists, civil rights leaders and members of Occupy Wall Street will converge Sunday evening in upper Manhattan for a candlelight vigil meant to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The event, culminating in performances by Patti Smith, Steve Earle and others, is one of several being held across the city along with another twenty or so around the world.

Musician Stephan Said, an organizer, said that although Occupy Wall Street and its allies had many economic and political grievances, the common thread was the quest for a "more equal world," something it shared with Dr. King.

"We've got a chance to do that, right now, unlike any generation," said Said, pointing to social media and a "growing global consensus" demanding political reforms and economic justice.

In addition to musical performances, the event will feature remarks by civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin Chavis, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel. Malik Rhasaan, another organizer and the founder of Occupy the Hood, is also expected to speak.

Kanene Holder, an Occupy protester and activist from Harlem, said the movement was encouraging black clergy and other segments of the black community

"The system has really marginalized the black and brown community the largest extent that it could," she said, noting low rates of college enrollment and high rates of incarceration.

But she argued that communities of color had to become more active participants.

"We can no longer sit on the sidelines," she said. "We can no longer be professional backseat drivers. Licensed backseat drivers. We have to be on the forefront of any movement for systemic change."

Participants are scheduled to assemble Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine at 6:30 p.m. and begin a candlelight march to Riverside Church at 7 p.m.


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Comments [3]


vigil (audio not that good)

Jan. 18 2012 10:31 PM
Mike from Queens

Very interesting, thanks. :)

Webmaster of Horizon EX59 Elliptical

Jan. 16 2012 05:41 PM
fuva from Harlemworld

Folks, Dr. King was talking occupation back in '68. Here's an excerpt from his book of essays "The Trumpet of Conscience". Some of this would be appropriate to recite at the vigil:

"Beginning in the New Year, we will be recruiting three thousand of the poorest citizens from ten different urban and rural areas to initiate and lead a sustained, massive, direct-action movement in Washington, D.C. Those who choose to join this initial three thousand, this nonviolent army, this ‘freedom church’ of the poor, will work with us for three months to develop nonviolent action skills. Then we will move on Washington, determined to stay there until the legislative and executive branches of the government take serious and adequate action on jobs and income.

"A delegation of poor people can walk into a high official’s office with a carefully, collectively prepared list of demands. (If you’re poor, if you’re unemployed anyway, you can choose to stay in Washington as long as the struggle needs you.) And if that official says, ‘But Congress would have to approve this,’ or, ‘But the President would have to be consulted on that,’ you can say, ‘All right, we’ll wait.’ And you can settle down in his office for as long a stay as necessary.

Jan. 15 2012 11:14 AM

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