Recently, the Occupy Wall Street protests have been gaining steam. Since protesters took up residence in downtown Manhattan to contest the practices of banks who are too greedy in their eyes, the movement has spread. Now Occupy movements have sprouted up in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and even small towns like Salem, Oregon and Ashland, Kentucky. But can it work in the inner city?

Over the weekend the Loop21 profiled two activists who are trying to bring the Occupy movment to the inner city. After seeing the Occupy Wall Street protests grow, but feeling like they weren’t quite capturing the needs of minorities, Malik Rhasaan started Occupy the Hood.

After observing the protests in Manhattan, Rhasaan noticed that not many Blacks and Latinos were participating. He took to Facebook to ask his friends what they thought of the movement. Noticing their responses exposed a need, Rhasaan created @OccupyTheHood on Twitter. After Ife Johari Uhuru saw his tweets, the two began talking and Uhuru decided to lend her social media savvy to bolster the cause.

Uhuru told the Loop21 that Occupy Wall Street protests will continue to see a lack of minority support if they ” if they don’t connect effects of capitalism to racism,” but she’s hoping  Occupy the Hood will get young Blacks and Latinos involved.

While Occupy the Hood is in its infancy, they’ve already heard from influential people such as Cornel West and California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and hope to use the existing protests to tackle other issues that plague inner city communities. Rhasaan says: “Using this as an springboard to address other things, whether it be crime or health issues in our communities. But we in the inner-city doesn’t know how this pertains to us. We don’t tie our issues to Wall Street.”

Check out this video of Malik Rhasaan discussing Occupy the Hood and find out more information here.

@OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street from adele pham on Vimeo.

What do you think of Occupy the Hood? Can it work?

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  • Kamala Jones

    Occupy the Hood may work but they need to keep the establishment politicians at arms length. And, yes, I’m including Black Democratic party politicians in that number they need to be wary of.

  • Kamala Jones

    I don’t see anything wrong with Occupy the Hood (OTH). Let us get our goals clearly defined and refined and THEN join up with the mainstream movement.

  • Caleb

    As far as #OccupyWallstreet and the claims that it’s not doing anything, I think we all need to wise up that the kind of change that people are clamoring for will take immense widespread support (which the movement is effectively mobilizing) and (if done correctly and/or through consensus) will take a year or two. Right now the movement has a real chance of gaining the momentum needed to push through an amendment removing 14th amendment protection from corporations or… anything else we want. But it’s a process, this direct democracy thing.

    Now, I get the desire to have community and political space that isn’t dominated by white folks, but I have two concerns about #OccupytheHood. First, why are we trying to exclude ourselves from meaningful participation in a movement that needs everyone in order to succeed? It smacks of separate but equal and seems to ignore the reality that splitting up a movement and pitting the little people against each other is the number one way that the System keeps the People from making change. Would we really rather Occupy the Hood and let the first major push for people powered reform in 50, 60 years fail because we have to work to get our issues on the agenda (like everyone else)?

    Secondly, if we want to end racism, we’re kinda gonna have to work with white folks. And from what I’ve heard, #OccupyWallstreet folks are actually willing to have difficult conversations and to make policies designed to address racism (and sexism too). We need to move on the OWS and claim our places within the national dialogue, introduce our conversations, participate in the process, not set ourselves out for another couple decades.

    • B

      Yes, yes, and yes. Exactly! Well said.

  • Real Talk

    For those of you who are still baffled as to why Occupy Wall St. has taken over the country, here are a few facts that will help to educate you on this serious topic that is more than likely kicking the soft brown smelly stuff out of you and your family….

    – 17 million children in the US, half of whom are under six years old, go hungry because their families are unable to afford sufficient food.

    – The bottom 50 percent of income earners in the United States now collectively own less than 1 percent of the nation’s wealth.

    – or the first time in U.S. history, more than 40 million Americans are on food stamps, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that number will go up to 43 million Americans in 2011.

    – As of 2007, the bottom 80 percent of American households held about 7% of the liquid financial assets.

    – Only the top 5 percent of U.S. households have earned enough additional income to match the rise in housing costs since 1975.

    – 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.

    – In 2010, the average middle-class family took home $49,445, a drop of $3,719 or 7 percent, in yearly earnings from 10 years earlier.

    – In this lost decade, according to economist Jared Bernstein, poor families watched their income shrivel by 12 percent, falling from $13,538 to $11,904.

    – 15.1 percent of all Americans are now living in officially defined poverty, the most since 1993. (Last year, the poverty line for a family of four was set at $22,113; for a single working-age person, $11,334.)

    So just so you know, it’s always been about class and race has simply been used as a tool get dumb, poor, and racist whites to vote against their own best interest (see southern strategy). This is why you and everyone you know, especially those who claim to be Christians need be in support of this movement. Wall St. is a generally name for the ideology that favors the rich over the poor in both social, fiscal, and legislative policy. Educate yourself family. Spend more time engaged in things that actually matter instead of the BS that most of us get caught up it. One Love Fam!!!

    • Caleb

      Well said family.

  • I think you all make good points. So far the Occupy movements are still learning how to integrate all of the diverse people showing up. It’s messy at times, but I can tell you that in San Francisco we are all working hard to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

    We need everyone out there, POC, queers, kids, seniors, all the people that are not heard or listened to. This movement to me is about a visual display of how big the 99% is, and how loud our collective voice can be. The new world I am working to manifest has all of you in the circle with everyone else.

    While I think everyone should work towards this in their own ‘hoods, you standing with us and adding your voice if you can get to one of the many places that now have an Occupy presence would make a difference.

    I am well aware of the infiltrators, purveyors of misinformation, and those that want to kill this movement through co-opting it. But I have been on the ground at Occupy SF and can tell you that the people holding the space there have love in their hearts and a commitment to keep at this. I don’t work for anyone, and I struggle to have my voice heard because of who I am. But there is something different about this movement. I feel it. Even if one believes the opinion that the movement was started by CIA, etc, it has taken on a life of it’s own now.

    Nothing in the past has worked, I think we’re running out of time to save our planet and our freedom to not live in a police state, and the whole world is together on this. Please add your presence and voice anywhere you can. And if you see an absence of people like you at an Occupy camp, that’s where you need to be.

    Love,
    Calliope