Church Leaders Join Forces With Occupy Movement

By Aneesah Dryver

Dr. Ben Chavis

The goal is to join forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Led by Dr. Ben Chavis, civil rights and religious leaders have announced formation of Occupy the Dream, an organization to mobilize the country around King’s vision, to wage war on poverty, unemployment and economic injustice. The executive committee of the new organization includes Dr. Chavis, Manhattan, and Dr. Jamal Bryant, Baltimore, who are both co-chairs. Bishop Millicent Thompson-Hunter, Philadelphia, is Secretary; Pastor Daryl Hamm, Baltimore, is Treasurer; and Pastor Harold Mayberry of First AME Church in Oakland, is Parliamentarian. According to Mayberry, the alliance was initiated when entrepreneur Russell Simmons, Dr. Jamal Bryant and Ben Chavis met with one of the leading voices of Occupy Wall Street, David David Degraw, discussing how to work together. “The Black Church has been on the forefront of change in every significant movement,” said Pastor Mayberry. “The Black Church will help bring structure to a movement that already has momentum.” According to Mayberry, the movement wants an immediate halt on all foreclosures because people are left homeless as a result of predatory lending practices. The movement also demands the reinstatement of Pell Grants. “Young people are unable to go to school because they don’t have any money,” said Mayberry. Finally, the movement is asking for major Wall Street banking institutions to invest $100 billion in job training. The “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on M. L. Kng, Jr., Day when it will “Occupy the Federal Reserve” in cities nationwide. . Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton have endorsed Occupy the Dream. Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, joined Chavis and leading advocates of Occupy Wall Street at the National Press Club. The Bay Area protest is on Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Federal Reserve Bank, 101 Market St., San Francisco. For information go to

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