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The Occupy Wall Street movement went Uptown on Friday night, as more than 100 people filled the second-floor sanctuary at St. Philip’s Church in Harlem for the first general meeting of Occupy Harlem.

Unlike their downtown comrades, those in attendance were mostly black and Latino, save for a handful of whites who sat and listened intently, a few lifting their fists to shouts of “Power to the People.”

This was a group of veteran activists and young turks alike, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement. And it was a moment decades in the making for veteran Harlem activists, like Nellie Hester Bailey, who have fought and protested and rallied for fair wages, tenants’ rights and against police brutality here for years.

“Occupy Wall Street is not a quote-unquote white thing. It is a white thing that the 1 percent and the bankers are representing white oligarchy and white plutocrats for the most part,” Bailey said. “But this is an organic movement from the bottom up. Now we have to take advantage, seize the time and the moment … and it is time that we become part of this landscape so we can begin to highlight our issues.”

As Occupy Wall Street has spread to cities across the country and the world, the collective face of the movement has remained largely white and youthful, at times shunning or crowding out old-school activists and civil rights leaders. But as the movement has continued to grow, more people of color have gotten involved. There is Occupy The Hood, started by a single mother in Detroit and a substance abuse counselor from Queens. Rappers and entertainers have joined Occupy protests in New York, Oakland, Chicago and Houston.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/occupy-harlem-organizers-_n_1067790.html

Article Courtesy of The Huffington Post

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