Data Staff Reports
Baton Rouge, LA— A week after the Historic Reignition of the Poor People’s Campaign, poor people, clergy and advocates intensified a six-week season of nonviolent direct action by marching from the Louisiana statehouse and blocking traffic to demand elected officials take immediate steps to confront systemic racism and poverty. Nine protesters from across the state were arrested.
“It’s unfortunate that we haven’t made any progress since Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign. In fact, we’ve taken a few steps back,” said arrestee Harold John of New Orleans. “The rich have gotten richer; the poor have gotten poorer. I think poor people are feeling that no one cares about them, so I think it’s incumbent on those of us who do have a platform to speak up on their behalf.”
The action in Louisiana is one of three dozen nationwide, including a major protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., that was led by Revs. William Barber and Liz Theoharis, the two co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. It marks the second consecutive Monday that protesters have marched on the Louisiana Capitol. Last week, dozens of protesters took to the Senate floor to protest immoral state and federal policies that directly harm poor people, especially women, children, LGBTQIA people, and those with disabilities, as the chamber was considering a budget that slashed funding for Medicaid, food stamps and other essential services.
“The reality that they’ve taken food out of the mouths of people who are starving and need it to survive is immoral,” said arrestee Ken Broussard of Lafayette.” The agenda to keep cutting and not find permanent revenue sources is immoral. It puts an unfair burden on the people of the state while corporations are benefitting and not carrying their share.”
The focus of protests across the country today was systemic racism, poverty and voter suppression. Protesters called for the immediate restoration of the Voting Rights Act, an end to racist gerrymandering and the reversal of state laws that prevent municipalities from raising wages.
“I went out today because I am tired of seeing people in our country suffering due to greed,” said Baton Rouge protester Jasmine Bogue. “We have more than enough resources to help the folks in our state, but instead we spend so much money on prisons that do not rehabilitate, high rises that people cannot afford to buy, and giving tax cuts to the wealthiest businesses that create fake job growth. I am tired of hearing we do not have enough money and I want to do something that was nonviolent but that got the attention of those in power. It’s time that the people of our state, of our country, to come together as one and do something to get the government to work for us. And I am glad we can do this under the umbrella of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy.”
All of the protesters have now been released. The Poor People’s Campaign will be engaging in nonviolent direct action every Monday through June 18th.