More than 200 arrests, hours of protest and one trip to Harlem marked the two-month anniversary since the Occupy Wall Street movement took over Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and sparked worldwide demonstrations in solidarity. The day began with a morning march on Wall Street, billed by participants as a way to “shut down Wall Street.” That did not happen. Instead protesters were met by police in riot gear. The city said that seven officers were injured and most of the day’s arrests took place there.
Earl Bell, an architect who works as a consultant for a firm on Wall Street and is not part of the protest, told The Root he understands why the protest is necessary. “The founding of this country was based on protest. I think sometimes this is like a more unpleasant side of so-called democracy.” Still others working on Wall Street just called it “unpleasant.”
Later in the day demonstrators, who call themselves the 99 percent (a reference to those Americans who are not among the top 1 percent of income earners), fanned out across all five boroughs of New York City to take their message of “income equality” and “anti-greed” directly to the people. The effort was dubbed “Occupy the Subway,” and there was even a stop in Harlem at 125th Street.
Getting more blacks involved in Occupy Wall Street is something that Chris Reider, 49, has been trying to do. You might call him an accidental Occupy Wall Streeter. Sitting in Zuccotti Park, he told me that he had lost his job as an assistant manager at Home Depot, and then one day in September, during the early days of the occupation, he walked past the park. The next day he moved in.
That decision is something that Reider says his working-class black family doesn’t completely support, but “I feel it in my heart,” he adds, so much so that he even got arrested in the first mass march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1, when more than 700 were arrested.