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Same-sex couple ‘occupies’ foreclosed Atlanta home

A female couple and their two children are now "occupying" a foreclosed home in Atlanta's Pittsburgh neighborhood with the support of the home's former owners.

Reneka Wheeler and Michelene Meusa have two children and had been homeless since summer, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Occupy Our Homes Atlanta, which grew out of last year's "Occupy" movement, helped the family move into the vacant house yesterday.

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Lesbian couple keeps home thanks to Occupy Atlanta

Tent at Occupy Atlanta protest

A lesbian couple in Riverdale, Ga., will get to stay in their home after successfully negotiating a refinanced mortgage with the help of activists from Occupy Atlanta, according to an article published today on Huffington Post.

Brigitte Walker, and her partner Ajai Craig, turned to Occupy Atlanta for help earlier this month when Walker, a veteran on 90 percent disability, found out her home was facing foreclosure by mortgage holder, JP Morgan Chase. Walker said at the time her limited income through disability and JPMorgan Chase's unwillingness to negotiate new terms to the loan meant she was in "a deep hole."

Members of the Occupy movement moved in with Walker and Craig, drawing national attention to the couple's case. Occupy Atlanta also canvassed Walker's neighborhood and even set up "Occupy Riverdale" headquarters in Walker's garage. Huffington Post reports that a loan modification became official earlier today, which will save the couple “hundreds of dollars” a month in mortgage payments.

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Occupy Atlanta moves in with lesbian couple facing foreclosure

Occupy Atlanta protesters in Woodruff Park

Activists with Atlanta's Occupy movement will occupy the Riverdale home of Brigitte Walker and her partner, Ajai Craig, the group announced this week.

Walker, an Iraq War veteran, is on 90 percent disability stemming from injuries she sustained while serving in the military and is facing foreclosure from her mortgage holder. Organizers say that her fixed income, along with her bank's refusal to negotiate new terms, have put her home “deep into the foreclosure process.”

Occupy Atlanta will host a press conference at Walker and Craig's home later today, organizers said.

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Occupy Equality aims to unite LGBT economic protesters

A lesbian activist in New York is trying to unite LGBT members of Occupy Wall Street protests across the country to highlight the economic issues gay and transgender people face for simply being who they are.

Jessica Naomi, 60, from Catskills, N.Y.,  started the Occupy Equality movement, an Internet gathering of LGBT activists involved in the nationwide OWS protests, a month ago and has held several working group meetings online.

“We’re trying to connect the street to the net,” Naomi said in a phone interview. “We’re using it as a way to do direct action.”

Naomi said a disability makes it difficult for her to walk and attend OWS protests, which is why she turned to the Internet for a way to become involved.

“I’m disabled, I can’t even go to these things. My ability to walk is very limited, which is why I’m trying to connect the Internet to the street. We should all have a voice,” Naomi said.

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Mayor Reed: ‘Occupy’ arrests made for public safety

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at LGBT town hall meeting

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was forced to answer public questions over his handling of the recent Occupy Atlanta arrests at a town hall-style meeting at Saint Mark United Methodist Church last night.

Reed was on hand to discuss the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle, a gay bar, alongside the Atlanta Police Department's LGBT Advisory Board and APD head Chief George Turner. But several of the open floor questions centered on the mayor's decision to revoke an executive order allowing Occupy Atlanta protesters to remain in the city's Woodruff Park beyond an 11 p.m. deadline and the subsequent arrests of the protesters who refused to comply in the early morning hours of Oct. 26.

Some 53 protesters were arrested, according to the city.

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Occupy Atlanta protesters plan to return to Woodruff Park

Occupy Atlanta protesters in Woodruff Park

Despite being forcefully removed from Atlanta's downtown Woodruff Park, Occupy Atlanta protesters plan to return to the park on Nov. 5, 2011, according to the group's website. The move comes after the Atlanta Police Department, on orders from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, arrested some 53 protesters for refusing to vacate the park in the early morning hours of Oct. 26 after Reed revoked an executive order which allowed the protesters to remain in the park beyond the city's 11 p.m. curfew for parks.

Calling the movement's participants “the new world,” organizers say their message will not be silenced by the APD or the threat of more arrests. A message posted on the Occupy Atlanta website today states:

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Why LGBT people are the 99 percent, too

As LGBT people, we are unfortunately used to living in the minority. But as economic protest movements spread from Wall Street to Atlanta and around the world, we are firmly in the majority: We, too, are the 99 percent.

The slogan of the Occupy Wall Street movement comes, of course, from staggering statistics about the divide between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the rest of us.

According to Think Progress, this richest 1 percent owns 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, takes home 24 percent of national income, owns 50 percent of stocks, bonds and mutual funds; has only 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt; and their share of national income is higher now than at any other time except the 1920s.

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Podcast: ‘We are the 99%, too’

GA Voice editor Laura Douglas-Brown was featured on AM 1690 | The Voice of the Arts this week in a bi-weekly segment highlighting upcoming arts and entertainment events and LGBT community news featured in our upcoming issue.

In this week's segment, Laura discusses our cover story, "We are the 99%, too" highlighting LGBT involvement in the Occupy Atlanta movement, our interviews with actress Meredith Baxter and author Gregory Maguire, and upcoming LGBT-specific Halloween events.

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Police arrest Occupy Atlanta protesters, activists vow to return

Atlanta police officers arrest an Occupy Atlanta protester

Early Wednesday morning, the Atlanta Police Department, acting on orders from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, arrested 53 Occupy Atlanta protesters who defiantly remained in the city's Woodruff Park beyond an 11 p.m. curfew.

During an early morning press conference, Reed said that the city was forced to take action against the protesters after Occupy Atlanta organizers attempted to host a free hip-hop concert in Woodruff Park over the weekend without a proper security plan.

When Reed announced Oct. 24 a reversal of his earlier order allowing protesters to remain in Woodruff Park beyond the 11 p.m. curfew for the city's parks, activists accused the mayor of misrepresenting the reasons for booting the protesters.

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Religion blog: A pastoral thought

The Occupy Wall Street protest seems to have taken on a life of its own, spreading from Wall Street to major cities across the world.

I find it amusing, in an ironic way, that those who supported the Tea Party folks find the Occupy Wall Street protesters repulsive. One would think that both of these movements would literally shout “There is something very wrong with our society!”

With all the mess going on, and the awful things each side are saying to each other, with the news media behaving like vultures and people jockeying for position, we now see this fighting as standing in the way of making sure our country is protected, secure and safe.