Occupy the Dream movement debuts in 13 cities

Occupy the Dream movement

January 16, 2012 7:38:14 PM PST
On this holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, people behind the Occupy the Dream movement made their voices heard in a number of U.S. cities, including San Francisco. Occupy the Dream is comprised of African-American religious leaders and their followers and on Monday, they demonstrated in front of several Federal Reserve banks.

Occupy the Dream held a demonstration in 13 cities across the U.S. To be clear, this is not a separate movement, they will join forces with the Occupy Wall Street movement -- and that's pretty significant.

This was the first appearance for Occupy the Dream; the group is comprised of members of African-American churches and civil rights leaders. Rev. Harold Mayberry of Oakland asked his African Methodist Episcopal Church congregation to join the movement. He says they bring experience to the table.

"The Occupy Movement is a strong movement, but it didn't have organized leadership. Historically, the faith community has been involved in every social, human rights movement in this country," said Mayberry.

And unlike Occupy Wall Street, Occupy The Dream has been quick to put out a list of demands. Among them are: a moratorium on foreclosures, more federal dollars to fund grants for university education, and a $100 billion fund set up by financial institutions for job training and job creation.

"There needs to be a change in the economic system that provides equity for everybody," said Rev. Michael Mitchell from the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

If those demands are not met on Feb. 14, pastors will ask members of their congregation to withdraw a minimum of $30 from their bank accounts.

"And invest that money in a credit union or minority-owned bank. When you start moving that kind of money across the country, Wall Street will get the message," said Mayberry.

James Taylor, Ph.D., is a political science professor at USF.

"The Occupy Movement is making the black church, or giving the African-American church, some relevance that it has lost since really Martin Luther King's passing over 40 years ago," said Taylor.

Church member Stacey Abram brought her daughter Reign to witness the beginning of this alliance.

"I talked to her about how my parents and how my forefathers fought for me to be able to have the education that I have, and the job that I have, and the opportunities that I have, and that I want the same thing for her," said Abram.

Members of Occupy the Dream movement said there will be no clashes between them and police. Occupy Wall Street has no "leaders," but clearly it is the pastors that are running this show and they're encouraging their followers to join the Occupy the Dream movement.