10 Things Every Latina Should Know About Occupy Wall Street

We're sure you've heard of the Occupy Wall Street movement that began almost 2 months ago in downtown Manhattan and has since spread nationally, and in some cases even globally. We just found out that some citizens down in Puerto Rico got in on the act, which got us thinking: What do we really know about this protest?

  1. ¿Qué?: Occupy Wall Street is a grass roots political and social movement that started in September of 2011 in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park near Wall Street where a diverse group of people are camping out or “occupying Wall St.”  They want to bring attention to their message that they are fed up with the business and political practices that reward the wealthy at the expense of the middle class and poor and are fighting for economic justice.
  2. “We are the 99%”: The movement’s motto refers to the majority of Americans who have been laid off, can’t get a job, or are in foreclosure—in other words, the majority of the population that has been adversely affected by the weak economy. The remaining 1% represents the wealthy corporations, specifically executives and banks, that received tax payer funded bail outs and bonuses while others lost their homes and livelihoods.
  3. Wall St. or Washington?: Even though its called Occupy Wall St. and it began in New York, supporters are angry at Washington’s inaction and the cozy relationship between political leaders and corporate interests.
  4. Jóvenes Líderes: Although a cross-section of people are participating, the protest has been led and driven by the young. 20-24 year olds are currently facing an unemployment rate of nearly 15%, are saddled down by student loan debt, and many are pessimistic about their future.
  5. #OccupyWallSt: Organizers are using social media like Twitter and Facebook to grow the protest into a national and worldwide movement. Protests have already spread to Puerto Rico, Chile, and Spain.
  6. #IndignadosdeWallSt: Spanish-speaking Latinos are being recruited to support the movement and address issues that disproportionately impact Hispanics such as lack of access to health care. A Spanish edition of their newspaper, Occupied Wall Street Journal appeared with the banner headline “La revolución comienza en casa/The revolution begins at home.”
  7. Express Yourself: Occupy Wall St.’s popularity has skyrocketed, in part, because of the voice it’s giving average Americans who are struggling in the stalled economy.
  8. The Anti-Tea Party?: Parallels have been drawn to the Tea Party, the conservative grassroots movement which advocates smaller government, lower taxes, and reducing the federal deficit, but it’s not so black and white. Occupy Wall St. and the Tea Party may share disgust at Washington’s gridlock, but the movement's have opposing views on how to solve the problems.
  9. Occupy Wall St. and Democrats?: Not so much, at least not yet. Many Democrats have been hesitant to embrace the movement, while others argue that the passion can reinvigorate Democrats and get them to the polls on Election Day. President Obama says he sympathizes with the movement.
  10. Get involved: The takeaway from this movement is not necessarily to drop everything and Occupy Wall Street (although they'd appreciate the support), but rather, to get involved in the political process. Attend a school board meeting. Call your representative. Run for office. Make sure your voice is heard and that you are fighting for economic justice.