SACRAMENTO — Their numbers were small but their issues large.
The Poor People’s Campaign, a coalition highlighting issues that affect the poor, like housing, systemic racism, health care, a living wage and spending on underfunded social programs, held a march and rally Thursday.
“California could provide all of the social services if their budget were focused on real community issues,” said Kenia Alcocer, co-chair of the California Poor People’s Campaign.
The march went to areas where the homeless are forced to live. It was part of a statewide bus tour focussing attention on the growing level of poverty that faces more and more Californians.
The issues that concern the Poor People’s Campaign are already on the radar of federal, state and local elected officials. Representatives of each attended a community forum held before the march.
It’s no coincidence that the forum at times had the feel of a revival meeting. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired the national Poor People’s Campaign, which wants to place the rights of the poor in moral terms.
“It’s not about the left or the right, you know, it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Kevin Carter.
The tour has half a dozen more stops, including wealthier areas like Orange County, where there is a chapter of the organization.
“They understand and they see the fragility of their livelihoods,” Alcocer said. “They are literally a paycheck away from losing their home.”
The campaign seeks to rally community groups to take political action on the many issues that surround poverty at a time when the economy is supposedly going well.
“If the economy is doing so great why is there still 140 million Americans in poverty, if it’s so great?” Carter said. “So at the end of the day, it’s not so great.”