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“We Won’t Be Silent” - 150,000 Bring Poor People’s Campaign Demands To D.C.

Published Tuesday, June 21, 2022
by Mark Gruenberg/Via People’s World
“We Won’t Be Silent” - 150,000 Bring Poor People’s Campaign Demands To D.C.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Demanding an “end to policy murder” that slams poor and low-wealth people, Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair - the Reverend William Barber II and more than 150,000 allies took to the streets of the Nation’s Capital in a mass rally over the weekend.

Their goal: Massive changes in Federal policy away from enriching the rich, corporations, and the Capitalist Class and towards ending the plight of the Nation’s 140-million-plus poor and low-wealth people.

Attendees, including a large contingent from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Members of other Unions, insisted lawmakers and Democratic President Joe Biden redirect Federal money away from war and toward domestic needs, raise the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 an hour, strengthen Workers’ Rights, and battle against systemic racism, among other goals.

As a handwritten sign carried by Madeline Stanczak read: “$7.25 an hour x 40 hours a week = less than $20,000 a year. Livable for who?”

At age 14, she said, she earned even less.

“I didn’t know I was being screwed,” she told a reporter.  

The current Federal minimum, $7.25, hasn’t risen since 2009.

Marchers and leaders laid the blame for refusing to act for the poor and for Workers at the feet of the Corporate Class and their political minions, especially in the evenly split U.S. Senate.

Barber singled out the entire Republican Caucus plus renegade U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (Democrat-Arizona) and Joe Manchin (Democrat-West Virginia).

Blacks, Whites and Latinos/Latinas all “are suffering from poverty due to bad tax policies, the war economy, and religious nationalism,” among other scourges, Barber added.

In opposition to those ills, “This is what moral fusion politics looks like,” he said.

“As long as the Chamber of Commerce and (49 - actually 50) Republicans and two Democrats deny people a living wage, and as long as they keep asking, ‘How much will it cost to do it?,’ rather than: ‘How much will it cost not to do it?,’ then we will not be silent,” Barber said.

Added SEIU President Mary Kay Henry: “Workers - especially front line, low-paid Workers of Color - are speaking up.  Its past time they’re respected, protected and paid.”

The marchers and the Poor People’s Campaign also demand passage of laws to preserve and strengthen voting rights, while concentrating on extra aid to poor and low-wealth people of every race, creed, and heritage.

Another hand-drawn sign declared: “Jim Crow must go.”

And a large banner had a message for the Right-Wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, too: “Overturn Roe?  HELL, NO!”

The Justices are expected to eliminate the Constitutional Right to an abortion, disproportionately hurting poor Women and Women of Color, by the end of this Court’s term.

“We are resolved not to stop until we no longer have to fight,” Barber stated. “We are the Poor People’s Campaign, and we won’t be silenced anymore.”

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