Bishop William J. Barber II. DMin, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, provided details of the 27-mile trek from Georgetown to Austin during an online news conference Wednesday. ,
The march will launch Tuesday, July 27, in Georgetown with a news conference and marchers will walk for three days to Austin starting July 29. The march will culminate at 10 a.m. CT Saturday, July 31, at the state Capitol in Austin, with a mass rally that will include hearses and caskets to symbolize, among other things, the loss of voting rights. The full schedule is here.
“Here in Texas, it just seems like every single day we wake up and there are more attacks on everyone across this state,” said Stephanie Swanson, a tri-chair of the Texas Poor People’s Campaign. “Whether it be immigrants, whether it be Black people, whether it be folks who need access to Medicaid expansion and access to health care or anything like the eviction crisis going on in Houston and across the state. There’s only so much we can take and it’s time for us to stand up and speak loudly against what’s happening here.”
“We are the moral resurrection,” Bishop Barber said.
The Poor People’s Campaign and its partners are marching “to say very clearly, as Selma to Montgomery said in ‘65: we must have federal action. And we are calling on the US senate and the president to act by Aug. 6, the anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act,” he said.
The march is part of a Season of Nonviolent Moral Direct Action that began with a news conference July 12 in Washington, D.C., and so far has included a Women’s Moral Monday March where nearly 100 women were arrested on July 19th in DC. The campaign plans actions at Senate offices in nearly 40 states on July 26, with a massive protest planned for Aug. 2 in DC.
Bishop Barber and Rev. Jesse Jackson plan to protest at Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s Arizona office on July 26.
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The coalition of partners is demanding the passage of the full For the People’s Act and restoration of the full Voting Rights Act; an end to the filibuster; a federal minimum wage of $15/hour and restoration of DACA and all necessary protections for immigrants.
“We know our democracy is in peril,” Rev. Theoharis said. “And so, we are marching. We’re marching for our children. We’re marching for our elders. We’re marching in Texas.”
Beto O’Rourke, a former political candidate whose PAC helped pay for Democratic lawmakers to flee Texas to deny a quorum for a bill to dismantle voting rights further, said Texas “is the epicenter in the fight for the right to vote. We have the toughest voting and election laws in the country, bar none.”
The same politicians who vote against voting rights and support the filibuster also vote to deny rights to immigrants and a living wage, participants said.
“Poverty is reinforced by public policy,” said Bishop James Dixon II, senior pastor of The Community of Faith Church in Houston. “And what happens in Texas, as well as in America, is we create policies that perpetuate poverty and then we criminalize the poverty that we create.”
“I’m pleased to be a part of this coalition of conscience,” said Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas. “What I’m calling a moral army, which is determined to fight neo-fascism and the war on democracy and truth that has been declared by the ideological relatives of the seditionists, who tried to overthrow the results of the democratic election on Jan. 6.”
“Under the current problems here with suppression, that has been guided by a very misleading bunch of Texas legislators, my ability to vote has been subdued,” said Ron Cranston, a person with a disability with ADAPT of Texas. “The minimum wage for the people who come into my home to assist me every day, primarily women of color for the past 45 years, is presently only assured to be paid $8.11. That is a disgrace. People cannot live on $8.11. I cannot hire somebody for $8.11 an hour.”
“It’s time for a change in Texas!” said Denita Jones, a tri-chair with the Texas Poor People’s Campaign. “If it won’t happen with our elected officials, it will have to happen with us.”
Speakers and partner organizations from the news conference:
Bishop William J. Barber II
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Stephanie Swanson, TX PPC Tri-chair
Denita Jones, TX PPC Tri-chair
Rev. Stephanie Wilkinson, TX PPC tri-chair
Rabbi Steinman, TX PPC, Temple Beth Shalom
Karen Ball, TX PPC, Impacted Person
Ron Cranston, TX PPC, ADAPT
Geneva Warsworth Colbert, TX PPC
Diana Ramirez, TX PPC, Workers Defense
Jason Lee, TX PPC, Texas Right to Vote
Dr. Frederick Haynes, Friendship-West Baptist Church, Dallas, TX
Bishop James Dixon, Community of Faith, Houston, TX
Barbara Arnwine, Transformative Justice Coalition
Daryl Jones, Transformative Justice Coalition
Bishop Tavis Grant, Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Julio Acosta, Border Network for Human Right
For the full schedule of the Season of Nonviolent Moral Direct Action, please visit the website here.
source: Yolanda Barksdale – poorpeoplescampaign.org