Poor People's Campaign

Pennsylvania is among 10 states holding actions on way to June 18th Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls 

Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko | [email protected]
Martha Waggoner | [email protected]

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival continues its march toward Washington with an in-person march and rally on Monday, April 25 in Philadelphia as the PPC demands that this nation adopt policies that lift from the bottom. 

The Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign will march and  rally as part of a Mobilization Tour stop on the way to the Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls

The program will be live streamed here.

The priorities and demands of poor and low-wealth Pennsylvanians will be front and center as they take on the lie of scarcity and put forward a Third Reconstruction agenda that demands, among other things: updating the poverty measure to reflect the real cost of living; enact a living wage and guarantee the right of all workers to form and join unions and guarantee quality health care for all. 

Poverty is not a personal choice but a policy choice and even before COVID, these policies were killing and hurting people, with 250,000 dying from poverty each year in the US. 

The interactive, county-level map of the Poor People’s Pandemic Report showed that over 5,000 people have died of COVID in Philadelphia, which is the poorest big city in the nation with almost ½ of the population (44.76%) living at below 200% of the federal poverty line. Additionally, the report found that 8.1% of the Philadelphians are uninsured and that 54.3% of people in the city are paying more than 30% of their income on rent. The racial composition of Philadelphia COVID deaths is as follows: African-American: 40.8%; white: 34.5%; Latinx: 14.7%; Asian: 7.2%. 

Monday’s action, which will call attention to the needs of the 4.7 million poor and low-income people in PA and the 140 million people nationally who were poor or low-income before COVID, begins at 5 p.m. on the North Side of City Hall. 

Marchers will proceed down JFK Blvd. with people carrying banners and chanting. They will then hold a rally at the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia at 2125 Chestnut St. beginning at 6 p.m. 

The national co-chairs, Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, will join local leaders from PA, NJ and DE for the rally. 

Poor people do have power. Of the 168 million voters who cast a ballot in the general election for president in 2020, 58 million — or 35% of the voting electorate – were poor or low-income. In Pennsylvania, poor and low-income people made up 34% of all votes cast in that election 

The Mobilization Tour is making at least 10 stops nationwide to Mobilize, Organize, Register and Educate people for a movement that votes. Our study tells us that poor and low-income people do vote. 

Speakers will demand that this nation do MORE to live up to its possibilities:

  • MORE to fully address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the war economy and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism. 
  • MORE to change the narrative and build the power of those most impacted by these injustices. 
  • MORE to realize a Third Reconstruction agenda that can build this country from the bottom up and realize the nation we have yet to be. 

The reality of 140 million people who are poor or low-wealth and just one $400 emergency away from being poor – and who represent every race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, ability and political party and account for 43.5% of the people living in the richest nation in the world – is a moral crisis. 

Other cities remaining on the tour include: Los Angeles, Memphis and the Delta of Mississippi.

The June 18th assembly in DC will be a generationally transformative declaration of the power of poor and low-wealth people and our moral allies to say that this system is killing ALL of us and we can’twe won’twe refuse to be silent anymore!

“It is NOT just a day of action. It is a declaration of an ongoing, committed moral movement to 1) shift the moral narrative; 2) build power; and 3) make real policies to fully address poverty and low wealth from the bottom up.”

—Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival