TOPEKA — In anticipation of a march in Washington, D.C., the Kansas delegation of the Poor People’s Campaign is homing in on an interlocking agenda focused on labor issues and health care access.
The Poor People’s Campaign, an effort to gain economic and social justice for the 140 million low-income people in the county, will march Saturday in the nation’s capital. Representatives from states, including Kansas, will be on hand to promote an agenda addressing interlocking issues affecting poor Americans.
For Oshara Hays, an organizer in Kansas since 2017, that means urging Congress to redirect funds toward safety net programs and the passage of Medicaid expansion.
“We want to hear about issues and focus on issues that are directly affected by low and low wage workers,” Hays said. “Some of the same things that we are seeing in Kansas that are affecting low-income people are the same thing here in D.C.”
Earlier this week, representatives of the campaign and co-chairs Bishop William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis addressed members of Congress at a briefing. They promoted The Third Reconstruction, an agenda to “heal the nation, end poverty and low wages, from the bottom up, from the people up.”
Barber warned democracy cannot sustain the tension of millions of people living in poverty and low wealth.
“The most moral people in this country are poor and low-wealth folk who get kicked in the teeth by systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, denial of healthcare, the war economy, the false moral narrative of religious nationality,” Barber said. “And they still love America! And they still have some spirituality, and they still believe in the possibility of change. If that ever changes, we are in a world of hurt.”
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