Here at BMP, we’re excited to be in New York at the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street movement. We’ve been watching for two weeks now as protestors continue to camp in Zuccotti Park to demonstrate their frustration with the current American economic system. While some are critical about the lack of a specific set of demands, what’s most important is that within the multitude of voices coming from downtown, people are standing together and speaking out for social change.
From bank bailouts to the Buffett Rule, the shouts from protestors can be varied in subject matter, but the overall message is clear. As income inequality in the United States nears third-world proportions, we believe in the people standing up against the one percent- that is, the one percent of Americans that hold a majority of the wealth in this country- and crying for a change in the way the system works. The income gap affects so much more than just our financial wealth. Project Team member Kim Klein discussed this issue on her blog “Kim Klein on the Commons”, when she spoke about The Spirit Level, a book that illustrates the dangers of economic inequality. Kim notes that “the authors have discovered that in more unequal societies, even middle class people on good incomes are likely to be less healthy, less likely to be involved in civic life, and more likely to be victims of violence” than in societies where the economic divide is less severe. It seems as though the “American Dream” is only attainable to those who are already at the top. This is exactly what the Occupy Wall Street movement is trying to change.
The photo shown here was taken by our own Frances Kunreuther when she went down to participate in the demonstrations. More than anything, she said it was the spirit of the protests that was most exciting. There seems to be a real energy emanating from the Financial District as the Occupy movement spreads to cities and communities across America, and we’re thrilled to be in the middle of it all.