Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Poor People's Campaign comes to Colorado

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 11:23 AM

click to enlarge Colorado activists brought the nationwide Poor People's Campaign to Denver on Monday, June 18. - JAKE ALTINGER
  • Jake Altinger
  • Colorado activists brought the nationwide Poor People's Campaign to Denver on Monday, June 18.
Dozens of activists, spectators and public figures rallied on state Capitol steps in Denver on the evening of June 18 to raise awareness of plight of the poor in America, officially bringing the Poor People's Campaign to Colorado. The PPC is nationwide protest movement seeking to unite poor and working people across the country in demanding an end to systemic racism, poverty and militarism.

The Poor People's Campaign traces its roots to the original campaign launched by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, several months before he was assassinated. The rally opened and closed with folk songs from the original '68 campaign and featured various guest speakers addressing social, environmental and economic justice; militarism; immigration; homelessness and poverty; and "America's distorted moral narrative." (Disclosure: the author also spoke at the event.)

"I believe this can be a unifying movement," Steve Mendoza, one of the rally's organizers, says in an interview. "I believe the Poor People's Campaign can help us begin the transition [to a system] that will put the needs of the many over the profits of the few."

The modern campaign launched six weeks of nonviolent action in Washington, D.C., on Monday, May 14, when thousands of activists joined campaign co-chairs Rev. William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis to march on the U.S. Capitol and make the campaign's demands heard. Sister protests were also held in over 30 states, according to Barber. Both Barber and Theoharis were arrested that day for blocking the street, along with over 200 activists in D.C. and seven other state capitols.

Denver activist Jim Norland and Jon Stout from FreeSpeechTV were among those arrested that day in D.C., and went on to organize the Denver rally with the help of Mendoza and Beth Leyba  in just four short days. Mendoza, also an organizer for the Movement for A People's Party, a coalition of progressives and independents working to create a nationally viable third party, and Leyba have been organizing a rally with One Billion Rising, a campaign to end violence against women, for several years now.

"I realized that we, the people, have the power, and that we continually give it away. We need to take it back, and we do that by standing up, engaging in nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience, and raising a ruckus," Norland says. "If every worker that made under $15 dollars an hour in this country called in sick for one day, all on the same day, they'd realize we have the power. We might see things begin to change."

Check out FreeSpeechTV's coverage of the event below. See poorpeoplescampaign.org for more information.

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