Charlotte, NC — In just two short months from today, thousands from across the country will be organizing carpools, filling vans, and renting buses to mobilize to Charlotte for the March on Wall Street South. The march is set to begin at 11am on Sunday, September 2, at Frazier Park, with the march stepping off around 1pm.
Coalition organizers report that preparations for the march are steadily progressing. At the end of May, organizers won permits for the march and held their first meeting to begin negotiations with City of Charlotte officials in mid-June. Planning for other initiatives before and during the DNC — including a youth and student “Festivaliberación,” a meeting of Southern workers, Occupy actions, and more — is also moving forward.
“From Georgia to Mississippi, Massachusetts to New York, Illinois to Wisconsin, and as far away as Oregon, plans are being made to mobilize to Charlotte in September,” said Donna Dewitt, President Emertius, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Communication Workers of America. “There are many reasons that folks will come to the March on Wall Street South, but we’re united in our calls for jobs, justice for our communities, and money for human needs, not more wars and jails. Both corporate parties are working on behalf of the banks, not the people, and in order to create the world we deserve, we have to build an independent people’s power movement from below.”
Today is also the day that the City of Charlotte plans to hold a “free speech lottery” to assign times to groups along a predetermined march route and speakers platform for September 4-6 when the DNC will be in session. The Coalition has roundly rejected that lottery as an affront to the basic constitutional rights of freedom of speech and assembly.
“The route that Charlotte has offered ensures that those who use it will be isolated and won’t be seen or heard by any of the convention delegates or bankers uptown,” said Michael Zytkow, a member of the Coalition and Occupy Charlotte. “People should have the right to speak out and assemble at any time, place, and in any manner of their choosing. The lack of applications, 24 for the 60 spots available, sends a clear message that people planning on attending the DNC do not consider the freedoms of speech and assembly subject to governmental lotteries. We categorically reject any attempts by the City of Charlotte or other state agencies to box demonstrators up into “free speech zones” or adopt any policies that will stand in the way of the rights of people to gather, speak and express our legitimate grievances. ”