Occupy Wall Street has dominated news coverage and discussiontopics for weeks now, sparking spinoffs in cities across the world- including Brooklyn.
But on Friday, October 14, a day before the Occupy Brooklyncrowd gathered at Grand Army Plaza, a small crowd of Brooklyniteslined up outside Congressmember Michael Grimm’s office in anattempt to channel that communal frustration into a call for actionand support for the American Jobs Act.
That bill had been filibustered in the Senate by Republicans whowere joined by two Democrats in voting against ending thefilibuster on October 11, preventing the act itself from coming upfor a vote. It may now be broken up into smaller pieces to be votedon individually.
We’re here to ask for him to support the American Jobs Act andthe Buffett rule. These are important issues to middle-classAmerica, said lead organizer Jamie Kemmerer of Bay Ridge,referring to the proposal by businessman Warren Buffett to tax thesuper-rich highest-income earners to help fill America’s budgetand inequality gaps. [We chose Grimm] because he’s our congressmanand he’s the only local Tea Party congressman here.
The protest was part of a monthly showing outside Grimm’s officeby Brooklyn and Staten Island leaders of political nonprofitMoveOn.org and protest movement Rebuild The Dream.
The event was also meant to be a show of solidarity with OccupyWall Street (OWS) protesters currently in Manhattan, particularlyfor those who can’t travel to the city.
I’ve been following OWS and since it’s difficult to get toManhattan, this was close enough for me to join, said Claire fromSheepshead Bay. I’ve been unemployed for 15 months. I’m hopingthere’s a way that [Grimm] can help find jobs for us.
I’ve been out of work for two years as of this Sunday and Ifeel that the government is not doing enough for us, especially theRepublicans in government, said Rosalie Caliendo of Gravesend, whosaid she has marched with those camped out at Zuccotti Park. Weneed jobs. People need help, not corporations. The middle and lowerclasses are the ones bearing the brunt of everything.
At one point during the protest, Kemmerer, Caliendo and fellowprotester Jeff Ewing handed a copy of their letter of appeal toNick Curran, Grimm’s Brooklyn director.
In response, Grimm said that he hears their message, butthey’re holding this protest in the wrong place.
They should be rallying outside Senator [Harry] Reid’s office[in Washington, D.C.] – since he’s the one who can’t pass PresidentObama’s bill through his own Democratic-led Senate, said Grimm ina statement to The Home Reporter. I believe that there are piecesof the jobs bill on which we can find common ground, and we shouldmove forward on those, rather than try to push the full packagethat clearly lacks the support to pass.
Still, Kemmerer said that he hopes that Grimm will considertheir appeal.
We’re asking the House leadership to at least bring theAffordable Jobs Act up for a vote because many people in hisdistrict need jobs and the act is filled with Republican ideas, hesaid.