As a people from diverse cultural backgrounds mostly identifying as part of the 99%, we historically find ourselves witnessing unimagined poignant times. Across this country we witnessed how those of us, trained in watching and waiting, decided to take a stand and created a movement from coast to coast on our own terms. The Boston Women’s Fund maintained a close look at Occupy Boston, from day one up to December 10 and beyond, by seeking information as to where our grantee community of activists’ stood: where were those organizations and groups led by women and girls in relation to Occupy? How were they now envisioning their grassroots efforts in relation to Occupy, if at all? In our lead article, Beth Levanthal of The Network, La Red grappled with the issues of a movement still seeking to understand its common ground.
Although, this movement appeared to be predominantly white men and the extent of safety for women and girls joining ranks remained an issue, nevertheless, the reverberating impact it created from New York to Oakland throughout Latin America and Europe, clearly replicated lessons learned from Tahrir Square. It continued into Occupy the Hood, Occupy Northeastern, Occupy Harvard and Occupy Homes for those losing their homes. The extreme greed of the 1% and their resolve of utilizing the media in supporting their message of correctness for their misdeeds became intolerable. Those banks and corporations seeking solely their financial advancement on the backs of those who lost their jobs, homes or both, benefited by risking the livelihoods of the 99%. The 1% needed a wake-up call and got it.
Occupy throughout the country successfully lifted the banner of economic justice by promoting the needs and issues of the 99%. It lacked a strong message on the need for racial justice so that the voices of communities of color could be heard. Yet Occupy placed a magnifying glass on the culprits who created the massive 2008 meltdown, resulting in the massive bailout of corporations and banks for the purpose of reversing the harm perpetrated on the 99%. But, instead of reversing the harm, life for the 99% became worse.
This movement changed the flow of direction from media focused on the few corporate ‘movers and shakers’ to the issues impacting the 99%. Meanwhile, BWF’s grantee community became involved at different levels. Even with the criticisms surfacing due to the discomfort at a leaderless movement including issues around gender and color, we accepted this long awaited opportunity of growth and failure and success of a new social movement that provided the majority of people a true sign of hope in social change.
I remain excited with the fact that our future potential for creating a better world became brighter with Occupy and it also became stronger because we took control of our destinies by starting to snatch our lives back from the banks and corporations whose greed kept on suffocating our workers, our students, our immigrants, our movement. Your support now more than ever can make a critical difference for our current and future grassroots’ grantees, who lift their voices to be heard whether within or without Occupy. Let us work together in creating social change by being bolder in your philanthropy.