Left to right: Reverend William Barber and march participants. (Photo: Steve Pavey and Yolanda Barksdale of the Poor People’s Campaign/Fixers of the Breach/Kairos Center)
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC: NCMR) and its co-chairs, Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, have consistently addressed the overwhelming amount of poverty plaguing the country.
On Monday, the PPC:NCMR held its first in-person march and rally in Cleveland, Ohio — the first of several marches planned in nine other states — in preparation for a major event this summer in Washington.
The mission of PPC:NCMR will be familiar to those who have studied the works of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., as it continues the civil rights leader’s call to address the concerns of poor Americans in the working class. Today, the PPC:NCMR directs much of its efforts toward what Reverend Barber calls the “moral center” of the nation and brings economic justice to the lowest rungs of society at large.
Barber’s command of the mission and focus on the numbers underscored the group’s intent to have their issues heard by members of Congress to hopefully advance policies that will close the gap in poverty.
“If we want to talk about poverty and low wealth, we have to break down some false narratives,” Barber said. leGrio. “First, we need to shatter the lie of scarcity in a country, where we have a gross domestic product of $22 trillion, that we don’t have the resources to meet those needs.”
Barber continued: “Second, we must respond to the lie that we don’t know what to do. [about poverty]. We know what to do, we know what the answers are. We know we can use tax codes, expand voting rights, and improve health care. We could solve all our problems instantly.
The civil rights activist added: “The third lie is that poverty is not a fundamental, moral and constitutional problem throughout the country, and it is. This is the moral question of our time. And in addition to these lies that we need to break, we need to stop the lie that poverty is a deep south issue, or a black issue, or people choosing to be poor.
Barber then shared several verifiable facts and figures, including a mention of the 140 million poor and low-wage people in the United States, and added that these numbers were extremely high even before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the world. ‘economy. Additionally, Barber shared that more than 40 million Americans earned less than a living wage in the past year, no doubt impacted by the realities of the public health crisis that many countries continue to battle.
In Ohio alone, Barber noted, 41% of residents in the state are considered poor and low-wage and he clearly noted that while people of color were the most poverty-stricken, a staggering number of whites in the state are also suffering under the weight of poverty.
“In Ohio right now there are over 600,000 people without health care and the state has accepted the Medicaid expansion program. Over 45% of Ohioans earn less than a living wage. This can no longer be ignored. We must put faces and names to this issue and that is why the Assembly of the Masses Poor and Low Wage Workers and the Moral March on Washington will put their faces, their names and their pains in the foreground,” Barber said.
Barber added that the rallies and the upcoming March on Washington will bring to the fore a Third Rebuild program, also known as House Resolution 438, which aims to tackle bottom-up poverty and low wages. high. Barber wholeheartedly believes that the poor and low paid in the electorate realize that their concerns are being ignored or ignored in favor of the middle class and high earning workers.
Ahead of the rally in Ohio on Monday, newly sworn U.S. Representative Shontel Brown, who represents Ohio’s 11th congressional district, shared her support for the poor people’s campaign and her dedication to uplifting not only the people of her state , but also for the rest of the nation.
“Hebrews 6:10 says, ‘God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you showed him as you helped his people and continue to help them. This verse has guided me throughout my career in public service, and it speaks to the moral renewal the Poor People’s Campaign calls for today,” said Rep. Brown.
“I support the Poor People’s Campaign’s continued commitment to upholding our nation’s deepest moral and constitutional values. I am thrilled with the campaign’s presence here in Cleveland and the work they are doing to bring attention to voter suppression, economic injustice, and the many issues affecting our people.
To learn more about upcoming PPC:NCMR activations and gatherings, please visit this page.
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