Jun 21, 2018
As part of the final week of Poor People's Campaign demonstrations leading up to the movement's Mass Rally and Moral Revival in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, hundreds of protesters joined together in chants and songs as they marched to and then were arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol Building on Thursday.
Organized by Rev. Drs. William Barber and Liz Theoharis, the movement takes inspiration from a campaign of the same name launched 50 years ago by Martin Luther King, Jr. Through a series of nationwide demonstrations in recent weeks, supporters have called for an immediate end to "systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation's distorted morality."
The focus of Thursday's demonstration, Barber told a crowd through a bullhorn, was "policy violence against families and children," which was only partly inspired by the Trump administration's highly contentious family separation policy.
"When we talk about policy violence, we mean snatching up not just children--brown children, because it wouldn't be happening any other way--and putting them in cages, but we also are talking about cutting healthcare. That's policy violence," Barber explained. "We're talking about protecting gun companies and not protecting our children. We're talking about refusing a living wage--that's violent. We're talking about cutting Medicare and Medicaid by $2 trillion, proposing it, that's violence."
\u201c.@RevDrBarber: The theme today is the snatching away of children, not just at the border, but because of a lack of healthcare, clean water, because of poverty. #PoorPeoplesCampaign\u201d— Poor People's Campaign (@Poor People's Campaign) 1529609781
As members of the movement chanted "Stop the war! Feed the poor!" outside the Capitol, inside the building, members of the U.S. House were narrowly passing a Farm Bill which demonstrates that, as Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) put it, "Republicans are waging war on anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs."
\u201cThe #PoorPeoplesCampaign is at the Capitol calling out the need for living wages, health care for all, environmental justice, and an end to criminalization of immigrants and people of color. Arrests are beginning.\u201d— Jeanne Theoharis (@Jeanne Theoharis) 1529611136
Ahead of arresting the demonstrators, police forced journalists away from the scene, according to a video posted to the campaign's Twitter account:
\u201cMedia and journalists forced back to the street. Arrests imminent in front of US Capitol. But our moral witnesses are not afraid!#PoorPeoplesCampaign\u201d— Poor People's Campaign (@Poor People's Campaign) 1529610983
On Saturday, thousands of people are expected to travel to D.C. to participate in the #PoorPeoplesCampaign protest on the National Mall.
\u201cOn Saturday, June 23, thousands of peaceful justice warriors from across the country will travel by bus, train, caravan and carpool for a #MoralRevolution on the National Mall! Get on board and come join the #PoorPeoplesCampaign in DC: https://t.co/SoazpfyBwU\u201d— Poor People's Campaign (@Poor People's Campaign) 1529613467
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.