Howard University Alumni, Students, Faculty Will Join With Occupy Movement in March to Chamber of Commerce for Jobs, Justice on Friday, Oct. 28

March from Historic Howard University through Heart of DC Seen As Adding More “Chocolate” to the Occupy Movement – Starting Time: Friday, October 28, 2011, 5pm

Washington D.C.—(ENEWSPF)—October 27, 2011.  On Friday, October 28th Howard University alumni, students, faculty and supporters plan to lead what they describe as a March for Jobs and Justice in solidarity with the Occupy movements.   

The event kicks off at 5pm with a rally in front of Frederick Douglas Hall on the Georgia Avenue campus of Howard University, at 2600 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC.  Marchers intend to take their message to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along the way walking through working-class neighborhoods of the nation’s capitol, home to those in the 99% of Americans who own less than 1% of the country’s wealth.  In what many describe as a move to “brown” the Occupy movement, marchers from the Historically Black Howard University, plan to link up with members of both Occupy encampments in DC (one on 15th & K streets, and the other at Freedom Plaza at Pennsylvania Avenue). 

According to Kimberly Singleton, who presides over the Howard University Alumni Association, which represents 20,000 Howard alumni around the world, Friday’s march makes perfect sense.  “The Howard University community has always been at the forefront of social issues.   It is our duty to support this coalition of alumni, students and faculty, marching in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and DC.  This jobs issue affects all of us,” says Singleton. 

Singleton’s comments are underscored by a Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) employment figure that gets little attention, the 53% of working-age Americans, around 110 million people, who are unemployed or underemployed, including those with part-time or temporary jobs.  It’s estimated that African Americans comprise as many as 85% of those who are unemployed or underemployed.   

Howard University Student Association president, Brandon Harris, believes that justice is a critical component of Friday’s march.  Harris notes that even with an African American in the White House, justice remains elusive for people of color, the reason why a dozen of Brandon’s schoolmates recently got arrested in plain sight of President Obama’s office in outrage over Troy Davis’ execution.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About March for Jobs and Justice

What: March for Jobs and Justice led by HU alumni, students, faculty and other supporters in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street/DC Movements

When: Friday, October 28, 2011, 5pm (Meetup)

Rally/March Starting Point: The Yard of Howard University, in front of Frederick Douglas Hall, 2600 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC.

March Destination: U.S. Chamber of Commerce @ H & 17th Streets

March Stops: Occupy DC encampment at 15th & K Streets, and Oct 2011 encampment at Freedom Plaza.

March Route:

  • 6th St NW Turn right onto Howard Pl NW      
  • Turn left onto Georgia Ave NW           
  • Continue onto 7th St NW        
  • Turn right onto Rhode Island Ave NW 
  • At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit left toward Vermont Ave NW       
  • Continue on Vermont Avenue, NW
  • At the traffic circle, take the 4th exit onto 14th St NW  
  • Turn right onto Vermont Ave NW        
  • Continue on Vermont Ave NW to K St NW & 15th St NW
  • Head south on 15th St NW toward I St NW   
  • Turn left onto Pennsylvania Ave NW     to Freedom Plaza
  • Head west on Pennsylvania Ave NW toward 14th St NW       
  • Turn right onto 15th St NW     
  • Turn left onto H St NW to U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Contact: Talib I. Karim, Esq., 202-256-0499, [email protected]

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March Goals:

  1. Call for passage of bills by Congress to increase jobs for HU alumni and students as well as alumni and students of other institutions.           
  2. Bring attention to the 110 million people in the U.S. who are underemployed or unemployed. This alarming number accounts for an estimated 85% of the African American community.            
  3. Draw attention to negative impact of economic policies like free trade agreements on US jobs.            
  4. Call on U.S. government to end wars and reinvest in job creating green energy projects and other technologies designed to make life better for Americans and the world.   
  5. Highlight the $1 Trillion in U.S. Student loan debt and call on Congress to stimulate economy by forgiving loans of those who are unemployed or underemployed.

March Principles:

  • The Occupy movement, which has spread to DC, has raised awareness of the fact that 99% of the wealth is owned by 1% of the population. Further, the movement has drawn a connection between corporate greed and the lack of American jobs.
  • Protesters criticize failed decisions by business and government leaders for the country’s lack of jobs such as the policy of outsourcing manufacturing and energy production to “developing nations” in favor of service sector jobs.
  • Its clear that the service sector (such as the legal field) has been unable to provide adequate employment, resulting in thousands of unemployed and underemployed lawyers in the nation’s capitol, many being compelled to work as temporary workers reviewing documents for $25-$35 dollars an hour in slave labor like conditions.
  • The unemployment and underemployment figures in the U.S. mean that only approximately 15% of the African American community is fully and gainfully employed.
  • This statistic explains why large numbers of grads from institutions of higher education across the country face increased challenges finding good work despite their academic achievement.  Similarly, today’s college students are increasingly uncertain of their employment prospects upon graduation.

Article on March

Howard U. Alumni, Students Plan Jobs March to Brown the Occupy Movement
By: Talib I. Karim, Esq. (Howard University Alumnus, BS ’92, JD ’95) 

As Howard University alumni, students, and friends celebrated Homecoming this past week, the campus was also abuzz about the Occupy movements sweeping the nation.  The movement, which holds itself out as a representation of the 99% of U.S. citizens who own just 1% of the nation’s wealth, has been criticized for lacking participation from people of color.
Nonetheless, African Americans, particular intellectuals from revered institutions like Howard are beginning to gravitate towards the national movement.  In the Washington area, an initiative is afoot to “brown” the Occupy efforts.  
On Friday at 5pm, alumni, students, faculty, and friends of Howard University plan to lead what organizers describe as March for Jobs and Justice, from the University’s Georgia Avenue campus downtown to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, along the way linking up with both the District’s Occupy encampments (one at 15th and K, and the other at Freedom Plaza, on Pennsylvania Avenue).  
This initiative by the Howard community comes on the heels of the recent arrests of Princeton Professor Cornell West and Raheem DeVaughn along with other Occupy protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court.  Their protest sought to bring attention to the injustice in the American legal system underscored by last month’s execution of Troy Davis and the assassinations of Americans living overseas, without trial, in the name of national security.
Yet for the Howard protesters, jobs as well as justice are their inspirations for joining the Occupy movements.  According to Jonathan Hutto, who in the nineties, served as Howard University Student Association president and undergraduate trustee, today’s Occupy movement is reminiscent of the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, which his fellow Atlanta native, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing just before his assassination.  
Hutto, who today lives in Prince George’s County, states “That great son of Howard, Kwame Ture (Stokley Carmichael) taught us correctly that students and youth are the spark and catalyst of mass movement, organization and change.  Just as we dismantled Jim Crow a generation ago, we must abolish today’s road blocks to full economic parity in our nation for all citizens.”
Hutto’s points are borne out by the disproportionate impact of the job crises on the African American community.  The reported national unemployment rate is 9.7%, but 17% in the African American community.  According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics if you factor in the total number of employable adults who are either out of work or underemployed (in part time or temporary jobs), the rate goes up to 53% or nearly 110 million Americans.  It’s estimated that 85% of African Americans fall into this pot.
Today’s Howard University Student Association president, Brandon Harris, whose hometown of Memphis was where Dr. King made his last stand, believes that justice is a critical component of Friday’s march.  Harris notes that even today, with an African American in the White House, justice remains elusive for people of color, which is the reason why a dozen of Brandon’s school mates got arrested in plain sight of President Obama’s office in outrage over Troy Davis’ execution.
Netfa Freeman, a University of the District of Columbia alumnus believes that while the March begins at Howard, it has broader implications for creating a new Black-White alliance.  Freeman contends that mass unemployment fueled by corporate excesses has long been understood by African Americans as a culprit for breeding the “Black underclass.”  However, now that “middle class” whites are feeling the pain of unemployment and housing evictions, everyone is talking about greed and corruption of the top 1%, says Freeman.
The Howard-led march for jobs and justice, lends a clear vision to the Occupy movement, where none previously existed adds Freeman.  Up until now, “many of us probably felt that if we’re going to jeopardize our jobs and sacrifice the little resources we have, we needed to know exactly what for.”  Heeding that point, organizers of Friday’s march are intent on keeping their focus crystal clear.  
Further, leaders of Friday’s March for Jobs and Justice intend to notify District authorities of their plans, and hope local officials will join their movement.  Moreover, the Howard trained lawyers, engineers, and business professionals and students behind the march have their eyes fixed on long term solutions.  Beyond the march, organizers hope to organize job fairs, business plan competitions, small business incubators, and other initiatives to achieve the goal of ensuring that every American has a job who wants one, particularly Howard alumni and students.