Poor People’s Campaign comes to the Capitol

Photo of Saturday’s protest courtesy: Kyla Brown

A national call for moral revival took place Saturday at the Florida Capitol. 

Also known as the Poor People’s Campaign, the march to the Capitol started at the First Presbyterian Church on North Adams Street. At least 31 other states staged similar marches on Saturday, bringing awareness to low-wage workers. 

The campaign demands that the government address “systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and a distorted moral narrative that keeps these systemic injustices intact.”

Multiple chants filled the air, such as, “When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises up.” 

Many families have a two-person household and live below the poverty line.

According to the Poor People’s Campaign: A national call for moral revival, 47% of the people in Florida — 9.8 million residents — are poor or low-income. This date was given in 2022. The protesters also chanted for the ouster of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

  James Morris serves as one of the chairs in Florida’s Poor People’s Campaign, and he was the main speaker at the protest. He talked about underpaid workers getting paid $15 an hour. 

“We will no longer accept poverty being the fourth-leading cause of death, poverty that is abolishable and unnecessary here in the richest country on the face of the earth,” Morris said.

 Even though the minimum wage is $15 per hour in Florida, some residents still are paid less than $15 an hour.

“We need to raise our voices and register and cast our votes and wake the sleeping giant. We will mobilize we will educate, and we will engage 15 million infrequent poor low-wage voters who have not voted in past elections. It’s time to wake the sleeping giant,” Morris said.

Linda Taylor was the second chair of Florida’s Poor People’s Campaign, determined to make noise about the Legislature not helping poor people in Florida. Taylor discussed how the Capitol and the White House need to know how their decision and lawmaking affects the community. 

“We are not an insurrection of hate and destruction. We are a resurrection of power and purpose. Our state capitals are not just symbolic. They’re the policy hubs,” she said.

 The legislatures and state governors make decisions that impact the poor and low-wage people within all the states.

The impact of minimum wage, health care, public education and housing has led to homeless shelters being overcrowded with families in Florida.

“The number one reason poor and low-wage people don’t vote it’s not because they’re staying at home and voting against their own interests it’s because nobody talks to them or includes their issue and public political debate there are over 135 million poor and low wage low-income people in this nation over 52 million low-wage workers who make less than a living wage in their state, less than $15 an hour and that ain’t right,” Taylor said.

Photo of Saturday’s protest courtesy: Kyla Brown

During the process, a few speakers talked about how they overcame their poverty situation and what it took to be stable. Andrew Wilson was one of the people who overcame the most unstable financial situation. Wilson said, “Poverty is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Yeah, clear, $15 is out of date, and we know beyond $15 an hour, and minimum wage is a necessity today.”

“Let’s not have a tent over your head, let’s have a roof over your head. Let’s not sleep on the sidewalk anymore, let’s sleep in a nice home with affordable adequate housing that’s a human right,” Wilson added.

For more information, visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/.