Poor People’s Campaign Kicks Off in Washington, D.C.

Truthdig – By Emily Wells – May 14, 2018

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Photo: The Revs. William Barber II and Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign, kick off six weeks of nonviolent direct action in Washington, D.C. (Michael Nigro).

Thousands of activists and civil rights advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., Monday for the Poor People’s Campaign, an effort to relaunch Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight against poverty, war and income inequality. Monday’s event was the first of 40 days of action planned across the nation. The campaign’s goals include federal and state living-wage laws, an end to anti-union and anti-workers’ rights efforts, welfare programs for the poor, equity in education, Medicaid expansion and accessible housing.

Truthdig correspondents Michael Nigro and Clara Romeo are reporting from Washington, D.C. Scroll down to see Truthdig’s live multimedia updates.

2:15 P.M. EDT: A crowd gathers around Rev. William Barber II as the rally begins.

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2:30 P.M. EDT: Rev. Liz Theoharis has taken the podium. “We are here to make our voices heard,” she says. “To tell this nation that there are 140 million poor people living in it. We, today, in 2018, have fewer voting rights than we did fifty years ago. There are 11 million people living under the threat of detention and deportation. We have deep ecological devastation with 4 million households having poison [and] lead coming out of the water in their pipes. There comes a time when silence is betrayal. There comes a time when we cannot take it anymore. There comes a time when we must march, and we must speak out, and we must protest and organize. … America, you’re headed in the wrong direction!”

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2:30 P.M. EDT: Rev. William Barber II takes to the podium again. “We are here because when you look at the grand moral declarations of our Constitution, which say that every piece of policy … should assure domestic tranquility, should establish justice, should provide for the common defense, and should promote the general welfare—we know when we look at those principles, something’s wrong in America.”

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3 P.M. EDT: Rev. Liz Theoharis tells the crowd, “When people step forward, other’s listen.”

3:20 P.M. EDT: Carmen Perez, one of the organizers for the Women’s March, takes the podium. “It’s not okay for people in our country to die without health care on our watch,” she says. “It’s not okay to separate mothers and their children on the border. It’s not okay, sisters and brothers, that every day a young black man or woman is killed at the hands of law enforcement in these United States of America.”

3:45 P.M. EDT: Marchers have taken to the streets.

4 P.M. EDT: Clara Romeo reports that police have blocked part of the protest, forming a line outside the Library of Congress:

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The Rev. William Barber II is at the front of the protest, right at the police line:

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4:09 P.M. EDT: Michael Nigro and Clara Romeo are live at the front of the march.

4:20 P.M. EDT: Police remain in a line of confrontation, according to The Poor People’s Campaign’s.

4:30 P.M. EDT: Clara Romeo and Michael Nigro report that the crowd is dwindling as civil arrests are made. Some protesters are being escorted away from the street. Those arrested are given wristbands and taken to a different area.

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4:40 P.M. EDT: Clara Romeo spoke with a police officer at the scene, who said that those arrested would likely have to pay a $50 fine, and that there would probably not be further repercussions.

The Rev. William Barber II is reportedly among those arrested.

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4:45 P.M. EDT: Arrestees sing, “ONE JAIL IS NOT ENOUGH FOR ALL OF US!”

4:50 P.M. EDT: The Poor People’s Campaign Twitter page reports that hundreds of arrests have been made. The campaign has launched a legal defense fund “to ensure the rights of those on the front lines in the fight to reclaim our nation’s soul are protected.”

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Hundreds arrested here in #DC on our first Moral Monday of the #PoorPeoplesCampaign. We’ll be here with justice on our minds every week for five more weeks! Donate to the legal defense fund to support our people: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/legal-defense-fund …
1:53 PM – May 14, 2018

Read entire article here

Posted by Teri Perticone

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