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Braving extreme heat, more than 2,500 people from throughout the South and across the U.S. filled the streets of Charlotte on Sun., Sept. 2 for the March on Wall Street South. The demonstration confronted the banks and corporations headquartered in Charlotte that are wreaking havoc on communities throughout the country, and raised a people’s agenda for jobs and justice as the Democratic National Convention convenes here.
Participants came from cities throughout North Carolina, including Winston-Salem, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Wilmington. Many traveled hours from cities such as Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Greenville, MS; Washington, DC; Tampa, FL; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA and New York, NY. A bus of more than 40 people, many of whom being foreclosed on by Bank of America and who are unemployed, spent 15 hours traveling from Detroit, MI.
The No Papers No Fear bus, which left Phoenix, AZ on July 29 with more than 40 undocumented people to arrive in Charlotte for the DNC, also joined the march with a spirited contingent against the deportations and criminalization of immigrant communities.
Also on the march were an unemployed workers contingent, a Southern labor contingent, a contingent against U.S. wars being waged at home and abroad, a no war no warming contingent, an LGBTQ contingent, and more.
“This was an historic demonstration that built an unprecedented level of unity between so many different groups and struggles on a grassroots level,” said Yen Alcala, an organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South and Occupy Charlotte. “The March on Wall Street South showed what is possible when we unite, and pointed the finger at those who are responsible for the injustices being experienced by the 99% – the banks and corporations, and a political system that is controlled by the 1%. Building people’s power from the bottom up is the only solution to win jobs and justice for poor and working people.”
Along the march, demonstrators stopped in front of the Bank of America’s world headquarters and Duke Energy’s headquarters. At each stop, people who have been directly impacted by the practices of these banks and corporations –whose homes are being foreclosed on, who have massive amounts of student loan debt, and whose communities are being devastated by coal mining and energy rate hikes — spoke out and exposed these profit gauging institutions.
“The March on Wall Street South was a tremendous success,” said Elena Everett, another Coalition organizer. “Our message for jobs and justice was heard loud and clear by the bankers and the politicians of both parties. But this is just the beginning. We know that the only way that real change has ever been won is when people come together, get organized, and build social movements to raise demands to the powers that be. And that’s exactly what we’re doing — building a movement for jobs, education, healthcare, the environment, housing, and against wars, racism and bigotry, deportations, and jails.”
Throughout the remainder of the week, the MOWSS coalition will be supporting actions and events being developed by other groups, including the Undocubus and the Southern Workers Assembly on Sept. 3 at Wedgewood Baptist Church. The Coalition will also be mobilizing support for the reoccupation of Marshall Park being led by Occupy Charlotte.