WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to more than 800 cities across the country and has now made its way into Wilmington. More than 100 citizens went to Occupy Wilmington's first meeting to voice their concerns and ideas and discuss their goals and role in the Port City.
"It's not about anything other than people getting together to spread a message,” Occupy Wilmington member Archie Caufield said. “If we do it here, we do it just because the people in Wall Street did it, and it was a good idea, and we thought maybe we could do it here and maybe help change the community just a little bit in a productive, peaceful kind of way."
Caufield says the group is leaderless and is about individuals of all ages, colors and backgrounds spreading a message of inspiration, enlightenment and change.
Member Joe Santos says that message is economic inequality and putting an end to the greed of the nation's wealthiest one percent.
"This is simply pointing out that there are a great deal of people in this country that are truly having problems, and we want to present that on a local basis,” Santos said.
Occupy members call themselves the 99 percent; meaning they are not part of the one percent they say stockpiles money and controls our economy and politicians from top to bottom. The group's first general assembly lasted several hours and was full of many personalities and ideas. Members say Saturday was all about figuring out the what, when, where and how they will make their presence known in Wilmington.
"It's not unorganized if we stand as individuals for a common movement and a common voice,” Caufield said. “Which is not that we are individuals, not that we have any relation to money or anything other than we just wish for things to be fair and equal."
Occupy Wilmington is looking for a home base because they say they are a 24/7 operation. The group plans to organize marches around the city, specifically around the corporations they say control our local economy, like big banks and New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
"We are nonviolent,” urged Santos. “We mean no violence to anyone, no one's property, no one's person."
It was proposed that members remove their money from national banks and put it into local banks and for members to move to a doctor who is not affiliated with New Hanover Regional Medical Center if possible.
The group adopted the Occupy Wall Street Statement as the foundation for Occupy Wilmington. Occupy Wilmington members say the movement is not just made up of the unemployed or young college students but people from all walks of life who have grievances against the power that big banks and corporations have.