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Jon Kest

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Why We're Joining #OccupyWallStreet

Posted: 09/30/11 05:32 PM ET

It has been amazing watching #OccupyWallStreet grow over the past two weeks. As someone who has been involved in the social justice movement in New York for more than 30 years, it's a rare occasion that I get to watch a movement like this develop from the outside.

Over the past several years, while the big banks have destroyed our economy and working people have fought to make do with less and less, the richest 1 percent of Americans continue to take of more of the pie.

That's why I'm excited to announce that New York Communities for Change and many of our allies in community organizing and labor will be showing our support for #OccupyWallStreet next week.

No place is more symbolic of that gross inequity than Wall Street and there is no better symbol for what all of us are working to achieve than seeing Zuccotti Park full of people who are ready to say that the American people are not going to take it anymore.

The levels of inequity in this county, and in New York especially are out of hand -- and no one knows that more than the working families that make up the members of New York Communities for Change.

We've seen our mayor and our governor slash our social safety net in the name of austerity while turning their noses up at new sources of revenue such as renewing the millionaire's Tax and seeking claw backs for improperly used public subsidies. Even when elected officials like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman take a stand against the big banks, corporations and the politicians in their pockets do everything they can do derail his efforts.

That's why NYCC members joined thousands of New Yorkers on May 12 to demand that Wall Street banks pay their fair share and it's why we'll be back on Wednesday Oct. 5 to continue our stand against the big banks and show our support to the protesters who have been on Wall Street for days.

Wednesday's solidarity march will be a precursor to a week of actions planned by many of the groups that participated in the May 12 coalition. The action will draw attention to the levels of inequity that exists in New York and demand that the wealthiest New Yorkers don't receive a tax break when the millionaire's tax expires at the end of this year. We hope that the energy, spirit and voices that are present in Liberty Plaza will be with us as we demand the governor renews the millionaire's tax.

When the big banks tanked our economy they took away millions of people's shot at achieving
the American Dream. It's about time all these people come together and hold Wall Street accountable for what they've done to our futures and the future of this country. Whether you're a union worker whose rights have been under attack, or a parent whose watched the funding for your child's school go into the pocket of a Wall Street CEO, or one of the millions of people, young and old, who are looking for work with no avail, on Wednesday we will stand together to demand justice.

And hopefully it will be the first day of many.