Wednesday, 23 May, 2018

Protesters try to reignite MLK's 'Poor People's Campaign' at Statehouse rally

Poor People's Campaign launches 40 days of protesting poverty Mississippi Poor People's campaign first in national effort
Anna Jefferson | 15 May, 2018, 12:46

That march was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and began in May, shortly after King's assassination.

Almost 200 people gathered in Raleigh to participate in the Poor People's Campaign, a national effort involving 30 other locations that calls for six weeks of nonviolent direct action.

Monday's event was the start of a six-week non-violent campaign to bring attention to people impacted by race, poverty, and inequality. "We want Governor Dayton to veto the bill".

"We're living in an impoverished democracy", Barber said.

In Missouri, 88 people were issued summonses in Jefferson City for obstructing a lawful police order to move after they blocked a downtown street. Those protests were meant to oppose the Republican-dominated legislature's agenda, its cuts in unemployment benefits, opposition to expanding Medicaid, and restrictive voting rights laws. They had scheduled protests at state capitols across much of the eastern United States on Monday, according to their website.

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This time, Barber has teamed up with the Rev. Liz Theoharis, a Presbyterian minister and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary in NY, to take the protests national.

The protesters released a long list of actions they want political leaders to take, such as expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and fully funding services to treat people with mental health issues and other disabilities.

The participants listened to several speakers before beginning what they called their first day of action, which included calling for an overhaul of the nation's voting rights laws.

It remains to be seen what kind of impact the movement will have over the next 40 days, but organizers are very aware that the mass voter mobilization they dream of will take work and time.

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