Occupy Wall Street marks anniversary

The Occupy Wall Street movement is marking its one-year anniversary today with demonstrations that continue to call for an end to economic inequality.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey  reflected on the burgeoning movement last fall in a Huffington Post piece titled Voices Rising Across America. She wrote, in part:

Occupy Wall Street is a struggle that can unite us at a time when unity has been a rare commodity. … [It is a] chorus giving voice to our common struggles, our shared disillusionment, our uncertainties and concerns for the future. People are standing up for themselves and for each other, and that includes those of us in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

LGBT people know what it’s like to struggle. We know the damage done by systemic inequity and discrimination that make our families acutely vulnerable to economic hardship. For example:

  • LGBT people are more vulnerable to employment discrimination because there is no federal law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We’re still fired, denied promotions and harassed, just for being who we are.
  • Our recent national survey on transgender discrimination found that many transgender people live in extreme poverty. Respondents reported experiencing unemployment at twice the rate of the general population, with rates for people of color up to four times the national rate.
  • The so-called Defense of Marriage Act blocks married same-sex couples from receiving more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities afforded to married opposite-sex couples. These protections are critical to the economic security of families, and include Social Security survivor benefits, joint tax filings, and family and medical leave.

For us, the system is not only broken; it is purposely constructed to leave us out. And we know that is true for others in the United States, as well. Like Occupy Wall Street, we believe that fairness is not a privilege of power and wealth but a right of humanity.

Read the full commentary here. Economic and racial justice are cornerstones of our work, including support of Social Security, workers rights and against racial profiling, among other issues.

We will continue to press forward until the day when we achieve full equality for all!