Protestors march from Washington Heights to Wall Street
YACINE SIMPORÉ Special to the AmNews | 11/10/2011, 11:48 a.m.
It's been almost two months since the Occupy Wall Street movement started, and people are still marching with the same rage and enthusiasm.
On Monday, Nov. 7, the movement took another tone. For the first time, people walked from uptown-181st Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights-across Harlem downtown to Wall Street. It took 11 miles and 7 hours to reach their destination. The marchers wanted it known that the protestors' main problems are mostly felt uptown, and that they were going to look for solutions downtown.
City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who was among the leaders of the march, said, "We're marching for jobs, we're marching for affordable housing and we're marching for a millionaire's tax. We are marching to let the city know that the 99 percent in northern Manhattan are calling for justice."
What started as a group of mostly Latinos and Blacks became more and more diverse as they walked downtown. At each block, people joined the marchers.
Stephanie Alston-Nero, a Harlem resident, said, "I was on my way to the store and couldn't resist. Every day since the beginning of this movement, I've said to myself that I have to march at least once. It was so painful for me to be silent."
She added, "We need a change. People need to be treated fairly. Today, the march came to me, and it feels so good to be here."
Even age wasn't an obstacle to walking those 11 miles to defend what they think should be defended. Dimitri, 65, walked from the march's start at 181 Street to its end at Wall Street. He said, "I didn't think I could do that." He added that his reasons for joining the march were mostly personal: "I lost all my money when I had to file for bankruptcy. My job is really badly paid, since I get less than minimum wage. I can't be silent. This is not fair."
The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be growing every day, and Councilman Jumaane Williams, who joined the march downtown, believes that "the administration is trying to diminish the movement."
He added, "It means they are trying to diminish us. Instead of coming down and discussing the issues, they kick them out."
"Big change takes a long time, and with the Occupy Wall Street movement, we are just at the beginning," said Myriam, a Harlem resident who walked from 181st Street with her baby in a stroller.
Still in the context of the Occupy Wall Street movement, another march will be held on Nov. 25 to mark the fifth anniversary of Sean Bell's death. Organized by the Rev. Omar Wilks, the demonstration won't be just to "call for justice for Sean Bell" but also to expose "the tragic experience of brutality inflicted on Black people by the police and the destructive brutality inflicted on Occupy Wall Street protestors by the NYPD," according to Wilks.