The NAACP is encouraged by the broad national support and by the great diversity of Americans who have been participating in the “Occupy Wall Street” campaign. The movement and the peaceful protesters who are a part of the campaign seem to share many of the same goals as the NAACP. “For over 102 years the NAACP has supported, and continues to support, policies which create, preserve and expand living wage jobs, increase economic opportunity and protect the desire of every American to build and retain wealth and equity,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO. “And as such, NAACP units across the country are encouraged to work with local coalitions affiliated with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement to nonviolently advocate for policies which will improve economic conditions for all Americans consistent with NAACP priorities.” President Jealous went on to say that the largely peaceful protests are true to “the non-violent traditions and philosophies upon which the NAACP is based and has operated under for our entire existence.”
Specifically, NAACP policies support the “Occupy Wall Street” movement’s principles calling for:
• The creation and expansion of employment opportunities through job formation and support of small business development, support and growth;
• Job creation through government and private investments in infrastructure, school refurbishing projects, and the renovation and preservation of abandoned or foreclosed homes and properties;
• Decent, livable wages for all workers, including the right by employees to collectively bargain for adequate pensions, health care and other benefits;
• The fair opportunity for small and minority-owned businesses to obtain government contracts;
• The abolishment of predatory financial services, such as exploitative pay-day loans and unsustainable and discriminatory mortgage and lending products;
• Opposition to barriers to homeownership including exorbitant down-payments, predatory terms and continued housing segregation;
• Programs and policies which encourage wealth building and preservation, including housing counseling for Americans facing foreclosure, those wishing to purchase a home, renters and the homeless; and a strong government role in the secondary mortgage market which also serves to protect the interests of all homebuyers, encourages housing fairness and discourages discrimination.
NAACP membership units will continue to adhere to the coalition and engagement policies and procedures of the Association as we carefully evaluate the missions, goals, strategies and objectives of each “Occupy Wall Street” entity.
Director, NAACP Washington Bureau