Coalition Of African-American Churches Join Forces With Occupy Wall Street To Occupy The Dream (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

Coalition Of African-American Churches Join Forces With Occupy Wall Street To Occupy The Dream (VIDEO)

Last week on “Washington Watch,” Roland Martin talked with Kanene Holder, one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, about where the movement is headed now that they’re being forced off the streets in so many cities. Well, as it turns out, they now have new allies to help push the movement forward. Joining me now to talk about Occupy the Dream, a coalition of churches committed to supporting Occupy Wall Street, is Pastor Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland.

MR. MARTIN:  Last week on “Washington Watch,” we talked with Kanene Holder, one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, about where the movement is headed now that they’re being forced off the streets in so many cities.  Well, as it turns out, they now have new allies to help push the movement forward.  Joining me now to talk about Occupy the Dream, a coalition of churches committed to supporting Occupy Wall Street, is Pastor Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, Maryland.

Well, Pastor Bryant, always glad you’re here.  I was –

PASTOR JAMAL BRYANT:  Good to be here.

MR. MARTIN:  — a guest at your church and –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — you know, we should’ve played a little bit of that – me being an Alpha.  You’re the Kappa.  We had a good, little time with that.

PASTOR BRYANT:  [Chuckles.]  Absolutely.

MR. MARTIN:  Well, folks, y’all can check out our conversation by going to rolandsmartin.com.

Le- — let’s get right to this here.  The announcement was made this week at the National Pr- — Press Club –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — in terms of Occupy the Dream.  One of the things that I talked with Kanene about is that – that Dr. King, when he organized the Poor People’s Campaign – that actually was to occupy The Mall [i]n Washington –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Correct.

MR. MARTIN:  — to put a face, for the nation, on the poor.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.  I think what Occupy Wall Street has done is twofold.  One, it has awakened America that poverty is not just a Black face, that poverty is now an American face.  And so many times when you see the media, here’s[?] Black people in the ghetto – [chuckles] – Latinos in –

MR. MARTIN:  Even though –

PASTOR BRYANT:  — the ’hood –

MR. MARTIN:  — the stats show more –

PASTOR BRYANT:  — yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — Whites are in poverty than African-Americans.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Absolutely, but now [Occupy] Wall Street has expanded the conversation.  Regrettably, in doing so, they have not taken in the original stakeholders; and the reason why African-Americans have been so slow to get involved is because poverty isn’t new, foreclosures are not new – but tents are.  And so – [chuckles] – there was a different kind of sell.

And so Dr. Chavous and I and a coalition of preachers from around the country said the Black Church cannot sit on the sidelines on this issue.  We’ve got to get on the frontline, because it impacts and affects our congregations and our larger community.

MR. MARTIN:  But it’s also – a – a part of this also brings more organization, if you –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — will, more voices –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — but also different voices that als- — that – that really expands beyond just these locations in New York City; Washington, D.C. – some of the other cities.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Correct.  It – it gives us a connected autonomy.  It’s a Baptist convention that – [chuckles] – everybody is connected, but doing their own thing, previously, but now we’re marching under one banner; that our focus is primarily on three things.  One is the protection of the Pell Grant for our young people to be able to compete on a global stage in terms of education; second, calling for an immediate moratorium on foreclosures, so that people will be able to save their homes and move forward; and, third, demanding of Wall Street $100 billion for economic parity, job training and entrepreneurship.

MR. MARTIN:  One of the things that Ka- — Kanene talked about was that this is not a political movement.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  I think one of the problems the Tea Party had was they were so identified with the GOP, that, by – by being so associated politically, people then said, “Oh, well, you’re a GOP thing, so I don’t wa-” – “want to get involved,” as opposed to Occupy Wall Street.  They made it clear:  “We’re going to hit Democrats, Republicans.  We’re hitting anybody who is opposing our issues.”

PASTOR BRYANT:  Absolutely.  Kweisi Mfume, former president of the NAACP, said “no permanent friends, just permanent interests.”  And what this agenda does – it was a[n] easy checklist:  “Whether you’re Republican, independent, Tea Party, Democrat, what do you support?  And where do you stand with us on these issues?”

MR. MARTIN:  Now, again, a- — I made the point [that] Black people are not sleeping in tents outside –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  — okay?  We – we don’t do camping.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Right.

MR. MARTIN:  But the issue with Occupy Wall Street is that you don’t have to be sitting out there in a tent.  It still is also, I think, the movement aspect of what are you doing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – no matter where you are.

PASTOR BRYANT:  We’re doing now strategic targeting, where every 30 days there’s going to be a hit to wake America up, and the very first one is January 16th – hence, “Occupy the Dream,” remembering that Dr. King was in the formation stages of, in fact, dealing with the Poor People’s Campaign.  And so that’s not – as what Jesse Jackson says, “It’s not a day off; it’s a day on.”  So, we’re asking people around the country to go outside of the Federal Reserve Banks, which houses all of the funds and gives to the privatize[d?] banks, to hold them accountable and responsible for the areas that we’re talking about.

If they want more information about our campaign, they can go to occupydream.com.

MR. MARTIN:  Occupy- —

PASTOR BRYANT:  Occupydream.com.

MR. MARTIN:  — -dream.com.  All –

PASTOR BRYANT:  Yes.

MR. MARTIN:  — right.  Well, Pastor Bryant, we appreciate it.

PASTOR BRYANT:  Thank you.