Reporters can register here to cover the news conference
On the anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment guaranteeing that no one’s vote shall be denied or abridged, the Poor People’s Campaign will join with West Virginians to demand a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin.
West Virginia pastors, miners and low-wage workers invited the co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival – Bishop William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis – to join them for a news conference at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at First Baptist Church, 432 Shrewsbury St.
Along with low-wage workers from Schumer’s home state of New York, the West Virginia speakers will release a letter to Sen. Schumer to demand that he call the question on the For the People Act, restoration of the Voting Rights Act and a Build Back Better plan that includes a permanent child tax credit, family leave and a living wage. The country and the 140 million poor and low-income people demand an uncompromising vote on all three.
An analysis last year by the Institute for Policy Studies of one BBB plan showed that extension of the expanded child tax credit would benefit 346,000 children in West Virginia and lift 23,000 children above the official poverty line.
In the spirit of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who understood the connection between voting rights and economic justice, the PPC:NCMR says the votes on the For the People Act and Build Back Better cannot be separated.
Congress ratified the 15th Amendment on Feb. 3, 1870, but states used poll taxes, literacy tests and other ways to block its implementation and abridge the right to vote. Now senators are refusing to take action and stop new voter suppression laws that the PPC:NCMR says are unconstitutional because they abridge the right to vote.
From voter ID laws to limiting early voting access and from West Virginia to New York, the people are calling for voter protection in the face of persistent barriers to voting.
Examples of such laws include making it more difficult to vote early or vote by mail; harsher voter ID laws; and the infamous Georgia law that makes it illegal to hand out water or snacks to people waiting to vote.
West Virginians have asked leaders of the PPC:NCMR to meet with them about long-term organizing in their state.
Full-page ads will run Sunday in several West Virginia newspapers detailing how Sen. Manchin’s obstruction hurts his own constituents and poor and low-income people across the country. Also on Sunday, Bishop Barber will preach in the pulpit at First Baptist Church, where Rev. Paul Dunn is the pastor.