Ydanis Rodriguez (Photo: New York City Council)
On Monday, New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and State Senator Adriano Espaillat will lead an 11 mile march in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Marchers will meet at 181st Street and continue to Zuccotti Park. Councilman Rodriguez told the Observer why he supports Occupy Wall Street and how he expects participants to make the five hour trek.
Councilman Rodriguez, who represents District 10 in Northern Manhattan, said he thinks Occupy Wall Street is an “important movement” that “gives a voice to the working class and the middle class people.”
“We’re looking to find a way of how to continue supporting the 99% movement. … I believe that this movement is so important for everyone, especially the working class and the middle class, to communities left behind, as is the case for the Northern Manhattan area where the gap between rich and poor is so clear,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
Councilman Rodriguez said he thinks the main focus of the Occupy Wall Street movement is “calling on the wealthy people to increase their level of contribution.” Though the movement asks wealthy people to share a greater portion of their riches, Councilman Rodriguez believes Occupy Wall Street could improve the lives of New Yorkers from all economic backgrounds.
“This is for the benefit of rich and poor, so that we can be in a better position to compete with other countries,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
Councilman Rodriguez and Senator Espaillat announced the march today in front of an abandoned building at 182nd Street and Saint Nicholas Avenue. Councilman Rodriguez explained that the location was a symbolic one.
“The owner of that building didn’t pay his taxes, but he has not shown any interest in renovating those apartments so we can increase the number of affordable housing units. So, we are starting at that particular location to show first that we need to close the gap, but also showing where most of the 99% of New Yorkers really live,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
Councilman Rodriguez said the march will be “passing by and adding support from the Harlem area, from El Barrio, from the West Side, from the East Side.” He believes bringing marchers from uptown to Zuccotti Park will help add increased diversity the Occupy Wall Street movement.
“As far as the diversity, we definitely should work hard to be sure that the black and Latino community also increased their level of participation and that’s why we are marching from the Northern Manhattan area all the way down to Broadway and Liberty,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
Councilman Rodriguez is confident he can make it through the long march, but he also expects support from people who aren’t in good enough shape for the entire eleven mile journey.
“We will have senior citizens that will be with us at the beginning walking a few blocks, also there’s going to be other people that do the whole walk,” Councilman Rodriguez said.
The march will began at 10:30 a.m. Monday on the corner of 181st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. The Councilma’s office said marchers will include representatives from Occupy Wall Street, the NAACP, the Working Families Party, United New York, 32BJ, TWU Local 100, SEIU 1199, CWA, RWDSU and other local community groups.