Poor People's Campaign

September 22, 2020

Photos, video available from each caravan site 

More than 100,000 people participated in the sixth Moral Monday March on McConnell, in caravans that circled Sen. Mitch McConnell’s offices in Kentucky, by protesting in front of his home in Washington, D.C., or flooding his phone lines and joining the Poor People’s Campaign online. 

The campaign amped up the program for Sept. 21 with the caravans and protests as it continued to demand that McConnell vote on a full and just COVID relief package and also delay confirmation of a Supreme Court justice until after the January presidential inauguration. 

The program, sponsored by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival was viewed online by at least 150,000 people, who remotely cheered on the hundreds of cars in caravans at McConnell’s six offices in Kentucky and protesters at his home in Washington, D.C. 

“Kentuckians are fed up with 35 years of nothing from our senator,” said Tayna Fogle, an activist who joined the protest in Lexington, Kentucky, where law enforcement tried to stop the caravan. 

Caravans also protested at McConnell’s offices in Louisville, Bowling Green, Paducah, Fort Wright and London and protesters also were in full force at McConnell’s home in Washington, D.C.

“This is about what kind of world we want to live in, and he does not represent it,” said Pam McMichael, a tri-chair of the Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign,  which organized the Kentucky caravans and who participated in the one in Louisville. 

McConnell, Trump and others have tested positive for being “infected by greed, infected by the pandemic of the lust for power and racism and lies and pure political meanness,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. 

The only vaccine to save the country is “our voices, our refusal to be silent, our votes, our commitment, our protests,” he said. “And don’t forget, we have power. We have power to layout this vaccine. It’s already been purchased. It’s already been developed. It was purchased by the blood of the martyrs.”

He said judges confirmed by McConnell “95% of the time vote for corporate power against health care, against voting rights, against labor rights.” 

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said McConnell and other senators who stand with him are wreaking havoc with the country.

“But the God of those who can’t breathe, those dying from a lack of medical and attacks on Medicaid and Medicaid expansion will not stand for it. The people of Kentucky, the people of Washington, D.C., the people across these United States will not and are not standing for it,” Rev. Theoharis said. “We, the 140 million poor and low-income people in this country, have the power to make it better so we must do so.”

Joining the group online was actress and activist Ashley Judd, who said she is grieving the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. McConnell, who refused to bring President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to the Senate floor for a vote 11 months before the 2016 election, immediately said he would allow a vote for President Trump’s nominee less than two months before the 2020 election. 

“We have a big fight on our hands, but it’s a righteous fight,” Judd said. 

“The determination and the grit and resolve that is being tapped into like the taproot of a mighty tree is going to help lift us” and bring a powerful voting turnout, she said. 

Amanda Groves, who protested in Paducah, said McCracken County, where Paducah is located, has 16,300 people who are food insecure, including 2,300 children. McConnell, with his refusal to allow a vote on a just COVID-19 relief bill”is hurting his people, he is hurting his commonwealth,” she said. 

During the previous five Moral Monday Marches on McConnell, activists have shut down the phone lines in the Senate majority leaders offices in Kentucky and Washington to protest McConnell’s refusal to act on many bills, especially a fair and just COVID relief bill that helps all people and not mainly corporations and banks. 

The campaign shut down the phones again on Monday as activists protested McConnell’s hypocrisy about Supreme Court nominations. 

The Poor People’s Campaign will hold its third Senate Town Hall on Sept, 29, this time in Kentucky. Democratic challenger Amy McGrath has agreed to participate while McConnell hasn’t responded to the invitation. 

Martha Waggoner:  [email protected]