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Rev. Carroll Baltimore, middle, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, recites a closing prayer.
(Hamil R. Harris – The Washington Post)

December 14, 2011


Washington, DC-
As the Occupy Wall Street Movement gains momentum, leaders of the African-American faith community, who nationally comprise the historic cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, gather today at the National Press Club in order to formalize their support for the Occupy Movement and announce the launch of “Occupy the Dream.”

Led by the North Carolina State Youth Coordinator of SCLC under Dr. King – Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. – and Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple Church, clergy and faith leaders from across the nation will travel to the nation’s capital, site of the historic “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” to once again proclaim their moral responsibility to join the front line of the struggle against poverty and economic injustice.

Faith Leaders will be joined by representatives of Occupy Wall Street and community allies such as cultural icon and social entrepreneur Russell Simmons, of the Hip Hop Action Network.

Says Rev. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple Church – “ The joining of church communities with Occupy Wall Street blends history with our energy”

Faithful to its philosophical origin, the coalition will call for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – when they will hold demonstrations in multiple cities nationwide, focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by a narrow financial elite.

Statements will be read by clergy and occupy representatives, announcing a unification between the inheritors of Dr. King’s legacy and the present day Occupy movement.

While amplifying the critical work of Dr. King and his contemporaries in identifying and alleviating economic injustice, the coalition will call upon their congregations, communities, and Americans nationwide to “share their dreams” for a better future, just as Rev. King’s seminal “I Have a Dream” speech challenged the younger generation of community leaders to step up and work toward a shared “promised land”.

Occupy the Dream will make effective use of online organizing through the website and partner site conference will also be streamed live at:

In attendance at the Press Club:

  • Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., President and CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network & National Director, Occupy the Dream
  • Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant, Pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, MD & National Spokesperson, Occupy the Dream
  • Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt, Jr., Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Hyattsville, MD
  • Rev. Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA
  • Rev. Dr. John J. Hunter, Senior Pastor, First AME Church of Los Angeles, CA
  • Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Senior Pastor, First AME Church in Oakland, CA
  • Bishop Millicent Hunter, Worship Center Worldwide Fellowship of Churches & Senior Pastor, The Baptist Worship Center in Philadelphia, PA
  • Rev. Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, Sr., President of the Progressive National Baptist Convention & Senior Pastor, International Community Baptist Churches, Gainesville, VA
  • Steven Green, Student, Morehouse College (Dr. King’s Alma Mater)
  • David DeGraw, Occupy Wall Street
  • Sgt. Shamar Thomas, Occupy Wall Street
  • Russell Simmons (via video address)
  • Lynn Richardson, Financial Literacy Advisory Council Chair for Rush Communications
  • Special Guests, TBD

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