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Occupy Newark joins the debate

DOSHON FARAD Special to the AmNews | 11/2/2011, 6:50 p.m.
Occupy Newark joins the debate

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Occupy Newark joins the debate

The nearly two-month-old Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York has not allowed critics, time or weather to hinder its growth or message. Cities across the nation are steadily being struck by OWS activists and organizers demanding an end to corporate greed and corruption.

Right across the river in Newark, N.J., on Sunday, Oct. 30, local activists and residents organized a mini Occupy Newark rally at Peter Francisco Park, right across the street from Newark Penn Station.

It was attended by college students, representatives from civic organizations and ordinary concerned citizens, all of whom expressed outrage at what they felt was corruption coming from corporate America and, more specifically, the city of Newark.

Rally organizers affirmed their alliance with Occupy movements across the country.

The issues that were addressed focused on unfair tax hikes for poor and working-class families, a demand for a higher minimum wage and an end to poor education, poor health care and government corruption.

Each of the speakers used the opportunity to bring attention to the aforementioned issues. Rutgers University-Newark Student Government Association President Cabo F. Granato, who addressed the gathering, told the AmNews, "Occupy Newark is an amazing experience and awesome movement...essentially it has just gotten to the point where the 99 percent are being oppressed and exploited by the rich and corporations in the United States."

Granato continued by expressing what he felt was the public's frustration at the government and corporate America. "We, the 99 percent, are saying, it's gotten so bad here-we're fighting two wars, we're going to other countries and getting oil while people are dying. And for what? So we can make rich people richer? It's just senseless."

Founder and chairman of the Newark-based People's Organization for Progress Lawrence Hamm said that such a movement was needed in Newark. He told the AmNews, "I definitely think that it will set the student community on fire and that it will spread to the rest of us. It's going to make a very positive contribution to building a real, solid protest movement in this area."

Along with being a protest event, Sunday's rally was used primarily as a planning and organizing meeting for future demonstrations. Organizers said that more sit-in events were on the way.

Upon completing the Newark demonstration, some of the rally's participants traveled across the river to join the OWS protestors in New York.

In attendance was long-time activist and author Angela Davis, who spoke in support of the demonstrators. Davis told the AmNews, "Occupy Wall Street is an amazing movement. It reflects the dedication, commitment and creativity of young people all over this country.

"It has attracted the sympathies and solidarities of people everywhere...from unions to professionals...from students to workers. And I think that this is the beginning of something really vast."

Davis made it clear how "people are upset about the impact of global capitalism. They are upset about the power of the banks and corporate executives. And finally, we are standing up and speaking back to power."