Hena Ashraf recounts what can only be described as a traumatic experience at the hands of Occupy Wall Street’s white facilitators and leaders. Ashraf and her friends had to fight in order change the movement’s Declaration, and faced and entirely uphill battle, emblematic of the white supremacist structure that controls OWS:
The facilitator who had earlier attempted to shut us down, came and said we should come back the next day to finish our discussion. We said no, let’s do this right here and now, and hammer it out in 10 minutes, which we did. A white woman came up to me and asked, why didn’t we leave the main facilitator alone? I told her he wanted to listen to us and chose to sit down here with us, we didn’t force him. These were the unfortunate distractions and disruptions we had to deal with. I realized that change on the ground is hard, messy, and painful, and we could feel all of this.
Ashraf and her friends fought to change a line which read, “As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background, we acknowledge the reality: that there is only one race, the human race, and our survival requires the cooperation of its members […]” The line now reads “As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members […]” That this much emotional and intellectual work leads to such a tiny victory is depressing (at best). Let’s commend Ashraf and her friends for their bravery under unbelievable pressure.
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