Occupy St. Louis Now Older & More Diverse

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Women, women of color, retirees and currently-employed college graduates are joining the ranks of Occupy St. Louis protestors.  The movement was previously thought to be dominated by college co-eds.

Female retirees said Occupy St. Louis protests are not just for college guys.

"My grandfather," Trudy Carroll, 67, smiled proudly.  "Back in Germany, was involved in forming unions under Hitler, so I think it's in my blood."

One union organizer said women of color have always had a stake in the Occupy movement.

"With the African-American workforce, the majority of that is women," said Sonja Gholston-Byrd.  "There's so many cuts, there's so many slashes, there's so many tax breaks that we suffer even more so."

Byrd is area vice president for the St. Louis-area Communications Workers of America.  The CWA represents hundreds of local government workers whose salaries rely on tax revenue, as well as private-sector workers.  In April, protestors accused Peabody Energy and Verizon of not paying enough income taxes.

"If you, in fact, are a citizen -- and corporations are citizens," Gholston-Byrd explained.  "They need to pay their fair share."

Spokespeople for both companies said their chiefs do pay their fair share.  

Sherry Reddic-Burrell, a CWA shop steward, protested for the first time this year, because she said African-American women not represented by a union make less than their coworkers.  She believed demonstrators of all backgrounds will fight this battle, too.

"Whether it's affecting an African-American woman more so than a White-American woman," Reddic Burrell insisted.  "We're all affected by the issue."

These women said that as Occupy starts to build an agenda that is gelling more around tax reform and income disparity, they expected to see these protests become even more diverse.

"I'm there for your fight." Gholston-Boyd promised.  "You're there for my fight.  So, it's all-encompassing."

More info:  http://www.cbtu.org/

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