TOP STORIES Poor people's campaign rallies in Washington to mobilize low-income...

Poor people’s campaign rallies in Washington to mobilize low-income voters

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Demonstrators gathered on Saturday in Washington to participate in the Campaign of the Poor to protest inequality.

Jose Luis Magana / AP


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Jose Luis Magana / AP

Demonstrators gathered on Saturday in Washington to participate in the Campaign of the Poor to protest inequality.

Jose Luis Magana / AP

In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. organized a march on Washington by low-income Americans of various backgrounds, known as the Poor’s Campaign.

More than 50 years later, some 2,000-3,000 protesters gathered on Saturday to deliver the same message at the Assembly of Poor and Low Wage Workers and the Moral March in Washington and at the polls.

The rally called on low-income voters to take part in the upcoming midterm elections and was attended by faith-based organizations, pro-democracy groups, labor unions and climate change activists from across the country.

“As long as there are 140 million poor and low-income people in this country, and we know that this should not be the case, we will no longer be silent,” said co-chair Rev. William Barber. campaigns of the poor.

The protesters have united on a wide range of issues: poverty eradication, voter suppression, systemic racism, environmental damage and limited access to healthcare and education.

The Poor Man’s Campaign also demands that supporters call the Third Reconstruction – large federal efforts to eradicate poverty and other large-scale changes. It follows the first reconstruction after the Civil War and the second reconstruction during the civil rights movement.

Barber also talked about the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on low-income people. The Campaign of the Poor released a study in April that found that Americans in poor counties died almost twice as often from those in the wealthier counties.

“We know that before the pandemic, the poor were dying at a rate of 700 people a day – 250,000 a year,” Barber said.

“Until now, poor people were 2-5 times more likely to die from COVID during this pandemic, and we know this cannot be explained simply by vaccination results; this is due to the discrimination in our policies towards the poor and the underprivileged. rich people,” he said.

Demonstrators came from all over the US to protest inequality.

“I’m a little disgusted that we come to the capital of the richest country on the planet and see homeless people in the tunnels and living on the streets,” said Kevin Quinn, 43, who came to the rally from Nebraska.

“And so just to be able to be here and participate is an honor, and also something that is very upsetting, because we are here, what, 60 years later, and we are still marching for the poor – we still have not fixed this problem” , – he said.

Ryan Bank of WAMU contributed reporting.

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