Occupy Wall Street, Patti Smith, Russell Simmons to Honor the Spirit of Dr. King with Vigil at Riverside Church

Occupy Wall Street, Patti Smith, Russell Simmons to Honor the Spirit of Dr. King with Vigil at Riverside Church

In the past week The Sparrow Project has had the privilege to work closely with Occupy Wall Street to coordinate, promote, and execute a PR campaign surrounding a massive global solidarity event honoring the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Continuing King’s message of non-violence, racial equality and economic justice Occupy Wall Street & the #J15 Organizing Committee have crafted a luminous movement towards global systemic change.  Below is our press release for the event and a roundup of press coverage that includes interviews with Occupiers and Sparrow volunteers.

Religious leaders, artists, and members of the Occupy movement will unite globally on January 15th, 2012 to honor the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  At 6:30 p.m. in New York City hundreds of Occupy Wall Street activists will assemble on the steps of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue) and at 7:00 p.m. begin a massive candlelight march to nearby Riverside Church (490 Riverside Drive). The group will join additional feeder marches and members of the community at Riverside Church for a candlelight vigil and celebration renewing King’s message of peace, justice, and equality for all, regardless of race or economic class. The action will culminate in an assembly featuring performances and speak-outs from artists, celebrities, religious leaders, and activists. Performances by Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Stephan Said, and Kozza Olantunji, as well as many more, will complement the inspirational words of Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Yoko Ono, Russell Simmons, Reverend Stephen H. Phelps, Daisey Kahn, Norman Siegel, Sumumba Sobukwe and Malik Rhasaan of Occupy the Hood.

“Poverty, an issue to which King showed increased focus in the years just before his death, finds its way into the darkest chapters in American History. Dr. King sought to shine a light of justice against those dark chapters of war, repression and racism, our candles symbolize that light,” says Abigail Keegan of Occupy Wall Street.


“These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. ‘The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.’” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

 Riverside Church has been an intersection of faith and social justice in the greater New York metropolitan area for over 80 years. At Riverside in 1967, Dr. King gave his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech. On King’s birthday and in the spirit of his vision for racial and economic equality, peace, and non-violence, activists will return to Riverside in solidarity with others holding candlelight vigils from California to Cairo; New York to New Orleans; Germany to Nova Scotia, to unite our world in a global movement for systemic change. The Riverside Church (www.theriversidechurchny.org) is an interracial, interdenominational and international church built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1927. The 1,200-member Riverside Church in Morningside Heights has a rich tradition of providing a forum for important civic and spiritual leaders. Past speakers include: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President William J. Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Fidel Castro, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

This candlelight vigil kicks off more than 24 hours of Occupy Wall Street-organized events and actions including a march on Monday, Jan. 16th at 9am from the African Burial Ground to the Federal Reserve Bank for a rally for economic justice. For more information about the January 15th action visit http://j15global.org

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