OPEN LETTER TO EDITORS regarding Occu-Party media representation
Friends of Occupy (FWG) are writing in response to press reports concerning the events of Saturday, January 28th on the “Occu-Party” in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We want to share our account with everyone.
We received an invitation to attend a party in Williamsburg hosted by a local group affiliated with the Occupy movement, an event which we attended. Based on what we witnessed, we are writing in response to what we feel is a grievous misrepresentation by the media of the events that night.
It was our understanding that this “Occu-Party” was primarily intended to draw attention to the increasing number of empty luxury condominiums in northwest Brooklyn. During the 35 minute occupation within the building, and along with general good-natured camaraderie, there was also much discussion among attendees about the deleterious effects of bank policy. Among topics discussed included bank-funded luxury developments and gentrification. These activities often displace current residents and create a vacuum in the community, leaving large swaths of the population homeless, foreclosed, or priced-out by these predatory bank practices.
After the NYPD arrived, we spontaneously joined to what seemed to be a street march that then headed toward Bedford Avenue. Besides some obvious lack of organization among the marchers, this march has been erroneously characterized in press accounts as either inciting a riot or rife with illegal activity.
Contrary to the reported accounts, it was our impression that the reported violence was both exaggerated and exercised primarily by a surprising number of uniformed and plain clothes officers. The alleged injuries to the officers may have been a result of their over-response to suppress the actions of free speech and public assembly that night.
We are writing in support of the diverse groups struggling against the injustices of the current system. Every one of us, and everyone we know are preparing for the General Strike on May 1st.
We hope this point of view is acknowledged in any further reporting of Saturday’s “Occu-Party”.