Minority Labor Leaders March 11 Miles For "99 Percent"
In a show of solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, minority and labor leaders led hundreds of New Yorkers in an 11-mile march from Washington Heights to Zuccotti Park on Monday.
The march began around 10:45 a.m. at 181st Street in Washington Heights and ended right before 5 p.m. at Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped for nearly eight weeks.
Led by community leaders, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, other elected officials and grassroots organizers, the march protested how the state's so-called "millionaires tax" is set to expire at the end of the year.
The group of marchers grew from roughly 150 at the start to nearly 300 as it reached Times Square. They explained they have the same goals as the generally younger, newly organized occupants of Occupy Wall Street.
"I'm here to make sure that there's a voice from Washington Heights to the Zuccotti Park members, to make sure that we, the people from New York, support the Zuccotti Park movement and Occupy Wall Street," said one marcher.
"The Latino community in Washington Heights, people of color, we want to say that we're part of this movement," said another marcher. "We're part of this movement, we're not just a one-race kind of thing. We need jobs, we need work, we need health care."
Espaillat agreed his lawmaking colleagues have not done enough for the common people.
"Their claim is justified, we're not denying that. Government, we bailed out Wall Street, we bailed the banks, we bailed out Detroit, but these stores that are shut down haven't been bailed out," said the state senator.
Protestors camping out downtown did not participate but pledged their support.
"It's nice and it's loud it's nice to have them march here," said a downtown protester.
While the demonstrators have often blamed politicians for perpetuating economic inequality in the country, they said that some elected officials are working on solutions.
"We have a huge element of legal corruption," said one protester. "It's good to have some establishment support but it's dangerous, I think, to get too close."
"We've done a lot of protesting to get corruption out of politics out of Wall Street. The more politicians that come away to our way of thinking, we'll be happy to have them," said another.
Occupy Wall Street activists also spent Monday at the Department of Education headquarters in Lower Manhattan, where they took turns shouting their movement's goals. [Click here for the NY1 News Story]
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