Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Past & Present: MLK's Poor People's Campaign

Past & Present: MLK's Poor People's Campaign

The campaign cast the protests as a "reignition" of the Poor People's Campaign, the 1968 movement started by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others to challenge racism, poverty and militarism.

Before that, they gathered on the State House grounds calling for greater economic equality. Those speakers Monday focused on four groups: women, children, LGBTQ people and disabled people.

The Poor Individuals's Marketing campaign: A Nationwide Name for Ethical Revival mentioned in a press release Monday that the Rev. William Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis, its two co-chairmen, had been arrested outdoors the U.S. Capitol.

There was no word from the protesters on when their event would end, and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had told them multiple times that they are breaking the law and will be arrested if they do not move. 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.

"No justice, no peace" were among the protesters' chants. The effort will culminate with a march in Washington D.C. on June 23.

The rally in Lansing was part of a national launch of the Poor People's Campaign.

Abandoned by his parents after he was born, Steven Suffridge said he had been homeless for seven out of the last 17 years and has not been able to make a proper living.

The U.S. Census says that 41 million Americans live in poverty, but the leaders of the Poor People's Coalition point to figures of 140 million published by the Institute for Policy Studies.

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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