Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for Americans living in poverty in what was called the “Poor People’s Campaign.” But advocates for poor Ohioans say the problems that existed are still common. So, they’re relaunching the effort that was first kicked off a half a century ago.
Pastors and other advocates kicked off a 40-day "moral revival" at the Statehouse, singing songs, carrying signs and listeing to speakers.
Pastor Thomas Barnes of the Kemper Road Church near Cincinnati says this is one of more than 30 events that he says will focus on non-violent activism.
“Sit-ins as we go forth, and to uh, just civil disobedience. We are going to kneel down and pray in the presence of those individuals to let them know that it is through prayer that we owe a first approach in trying to address this issue," Barnes says.
— Ohio Poor People's Campaign (@OhioPPC) May 15, 2018
The nationwide effort calls for sweeping legislative changes including an end to gerrymandering and so-called right to work laws, full funding for federal anti-poverty programs, changes in immigration laws, and bans on assault weapons and fracking.
Ohio's campaign specifically called on governor candidates Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray to pass a $15 minimum wage, keep SNAP, and protect Medicaid expansion.
Other Poor People's Campaigns launched in Washington, D.C., Missouri, Iowa, and over 30 other states.