The Occupy Wall Street protesters have had support from assorted celebrities and intellectuals over the course of the past two weeks, from the likes of Cornell West, Susan Sarandon, Tom Morello and Michael Moore. And while it seems a certain band best-left-unnamed were never actually planning to drop by unannounced at Zuccotti Park this afternoon, protesters gained another two allies in their fight this week: the NYC transit union and Russell Simmons!
The Transit Workers Union Local 100's executive committee, which oversees 38,000 subway and bus workers, voted unanimously Wednesday night to support the protesters. The union is planning a rally on October 5 to explicitly express their support. "The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place," said 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson. Now, he added, "we're all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives."
Hip-hop impresario and Ashley Dupre mentor Russel Simmons lent his support to protesters as well, giving out 500 bottles of water on Wednesday. He gave them words of encouragement too, posting a letter "in solidarity" on GlobalGrind. He also urged the protesters to remain civil and to more clearly define their agenda: "I think they have to keep this completely nonviolent...The kids that are there now are among the sweetest and the most idealistic and the most safe. I feel responsible to them and I feel responsible for them as a person with more resources."
He summed up his experience with the protesters like so: "I felt more connected to the people in the park than to people in the boardroom."