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(c) by Mary Griggs

Last week, I gathered with several hundred other activists for an Occupy New Orleans protest and march. Modeled after the Occupy Wall Street actions, the group spread information about the day’s activities primarily through social media:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyNOLA
Twitter: http://twitter.com/OccupyNOLA
Google Groups: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/occupynola
and their website: http://occupynola.org/

There were a lot of different reasons why people were out protesting. The fact there is not one single issue or one single organizer is causing a lot frustration with the major media. There was a lot of local media and alternative media out in New Orleans on October 6th, though.

My primary reason for participating is my belief that Congress must pass legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. Allowing corporations to buy elections is undermining our democratic institutions. Negating the Citizens United decision is something that needs to happen as soon as possible. Campaign finance is one of the biggest issues we face as a country right now (and much of our economic issues stem from the power of corporations in lobbying for the writing laws which favor them over ‘people’ and fighting regulations and other consumer protections).

I was also walking because I’m a lesbian that lives in a state and country that offers no protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. Employment decisions should be based on a person’s qualifications and job performance. Without an Employment Non-discrimination Act at the Federal and State level, LGBT citizens will continue to face bias and discrimination and even be fired for their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In this tough economy, LGBT workers should also have equal rights in job opportunities.

As we walked, we generally got a lot of support from motorists and people on the sidewalks and hanging out the windows. The police presence was non-obtrusive and was very helpful for the long walk from Tulane Avenue/Broad Street to Lafayette Square (down Poydras to St. Charles).

I loved being part of the protest and especially walking down our city’s public streets shouting “This is what democracy looks like!”