Occupy Sunset Park continues to grow

November 11, 2011 Heather Chin
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Fifteen people showed up for Occupy Sunset Park’s first generalinterest meeting on Saturday, October 22. The next week, around 30residents and their friends filled one of the conference rooms atTrinity Lutheran Church at Fourth Avenue and 46th Street, ready tobrainstorm a list of community concerns that need to beaddressed.

By the third Saturday meeting – referred to as a general assembly -on November 5, the group, now nearly 50 strong, had begun to formcommittees and become a part of the larger Occupy Brooklyn andOccupy Wall Street (OWS) network/movement. But unlike their OWScounterparts, the Sunset Parkers have specific issues that theywill be addressing.

The group is growing, organizing and forming committees doingresearch [for] teach-ins on gentrification, immigration, thecriminal justice system and the banking system here in the SunsetPark area, said Samuel Cruz, pastor at Trinity Lutheran. They’retaking their research seriously and in the next few weeks, thiscoming Saturday, some of them will be reporting to us on infothey’ve gathered and suggest actions to take.

Possible actions could include anything and everything fromprotests and divesting from certain banks to organizing publicdiscussions and contacting the police department forassistance.

People are clamoring for change, social and economic justice, andnot just in the centers of power, said community activist DavidGalarza. There needs to be a clamor for change at the verygrassroots level, where people live in neighborhoods like SunsetPark or the South Bronx or Flushing. [This is] a way to connectworking families and, in particular, people of color [aroundissues] that relate to our specific community.

Another unique aspect of the Occupy Sunset Park group is that itsmembership is incredibly multicultural, drawing participation fromacross ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Some local organizationsrepresented include the nonprofit La Uni?n, the Chinese Staff andWorkers Association, and Brooklyn for Peace.

Participants continue to reach out to neighbors, throughword-of-mouth or via social media such as Facebook, where a recentpost notes: We know that there are many more concerns in thiscommunity and we need [everyone’s] voice, we need [everyone’s]presence because we are all a part of the solution. We are the 99percent.

The group will meet every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. inside thechurch which is located at 411 46th Street. To learn more about orjoin in the planning for Occupy Sunset Park, [email protected].

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