by Nate Jackson
500 white carnations rest on the steps of the capitol building as thousands of the 99% walked silently by on our way to Speaker Boehner’s office. As Speaker of the House, Boehner can do a lot to jam up our democratic process— if we let him.
It’s time for Congress to get us back to work by investing in our communities and offering help to those who need it.
That’s why we walked down the streets of Washington DC, across the National Mall and up to Capitol Hill.
Leading the way was a large group of Occupy DC activists who played drums and danced in the streets. We kept the beat and moved our feet while spreading our message. We stopped for a rally at Upper Senate Hill Park.
Faith leaders from Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions took the stage and talked how faith of any kind cannot be separated from the struggle for social justice and fairness.
Rev. Wallace Charles Smith put it plainly.
“Unemployment is not an economic issue,” he said. “It’s a moral issue. Unemployment is not just a number; it’s people who are suffering.”
When we arrived at the Capitol Building, we marched past in silence, a nod to the unemployed who have felt like they have been ignored and forgotten by their elected officials.
Christina Sherry from Seattle marched with the 99% because she wanted to see real change.
“I’ve been unemployed for over a year now,” she said. “There needs to be a fundamental change in how this economy works and how the government works. It needs to work for me, for everyone.”
When we arrived at Speaker Boehner’s office, we sat down, squeezing ourselves into the small space on the steps of the Rayburn House Office Building. We shouted up at Boehner, and we’re certain he knew we were there. He tried to shut us out by locking his doors, but we are the 99%, and he’s supposed to work for us. We will not be ignored.
For the whole week, we were fighting to Take Back the Capitol for the 99%
On Tuesday, we marched on 99 house representatives and demanded they stop bickering and start putting the people first. Some of the representatives talked to us, some ran away, but they all heard the message. We need good jobs now for the 99%.
We stormed K Street, the base of dozens of 1% lobbying firms that pour money into the pockets of our legislators, and made them stop and listen to us on a busy Wednesday afternoon. They locked their doors as they did not want to answer to the thousands of us who have been hurt by their purchase of influence.
We crashed high powered fundraisers for representatives and presidential candidates who have proven over and over that they would step on the backs of the 99% in order to get elected. In fact, we had a red carpet rolled out with unemployed workers lying under it.
We are not going to stop fighting.
We pledge to continue the fight for a fair economy. We want the unemployed to find good jobs, workers to be treated with respect, and policies like extending unemployment insurance that help us get back on our feet when we’ve slipped.
We want to not just survive, but thrive and the only way we can do that if we continue to work together and keep fighting.
The week of action in DC was exciting, gratifying and educational. We’ve been recharged and fired up and we are taking this fight to the 1%. We won’t just sit around and wait for crumbs to fall from the plates of the 1%. We want a seat at the table.
We deserve it and we’ll keep pushing.