Can The War On Poverty Be Revived By A March?

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) is organizing a march from New-Orleans to Detroit, going through Mississippi, Alabama and the Rust Belt to end up in June, in the town which should be called ground zero of the US economic crisis: Detroit Michigan. The goal of the march is to pick up the mantle of Martin Luther King, and revive Dr. King’s fight to end poverty in America.

“The dispossessed of the nation- the poor, both white and negro- live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty,” wrote Dr. King in 1967.

The words of Martin Luther King apply today just as much as they did in 1967, and this is what the New-Orleans to Detroit march want to highlight and expose.Towards the end of his life, Dr. King shifted his concern from racial equality to social and economic justice, coming to the realization that people of all colors living side-by-side in poverty was not a true victory for all people. He launched the Poor People’s Campaign in 1967 to unite poor people of all races in order to build a massive non-violent movement to end poverty.

Why Are They Marching?

The organizers hope that thousands will participate in the march, and join this historic effort to highlight the urgent need of the poor for guarantee health care and affordable housing for everyone¬† in the United States. The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is demanding that the government “prioritize life over death by allocating some of the tremendous resources at its disposal to provide for the vital needs of health care and housing”.

The march organizers point out that it is shameful for our society not to provide these basic human rights considering that most industrialized countries around the world offer their citizens such social safety nets. It is indeed an unacceptable contradiction that in the richest country in the world, and the only military super power left, millions of Americans live as if they were citizens of a 3RD world country.

This grim reality was revealed to the world in New-Orleans post-Katrina, and it is currently in full display in Detroit, which has become a ghost town hit by the wrecking ball of the economic crisis still unfolding. Right now, in the richest country in the world, record number of people are homeless and experiencing abject poverty while record profits are still being made by Wall Street with the help of the massive government bailout for corporations and the rich.

“Poverty, homelessness and unemployment are skyrocketing while trillions of dollars are being misappropriated to fight wars abroad. Millions of poor people in the United States are being incarcerated, abandoned and attacked by an economic and political system that prioritize wealth over health and profit over people. We can and must do better,” wrote an organizer of the march.

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is determined to proudly carry Dr. King’s social justice torch. This is how they define their mission:

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is committed to unite the poor across color lines as the leadership base for a broad movement to abolish poverty. We work to accomplish this through advancing economic human rights as named in the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, such as the rights to food, housing, health, education, communication and a living wage job.”

To find out more about the march click here.

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