Citizen group plans several weeks of civil disobedience in honor of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. organized the Poor People’s Campaign to highlight the plight of the poor, but he was assassinated before he could see it through.

Monday, a group of individuals visited the Ohio Statehouse to commit to non-violent civil disobedience for 40 days starting on Mother’s Day as part a national effort.

The group was made up of activists, clergy, and low-income families.

“We have come to say clearly that a politics that ignores the poor has gone on for far too long, and we will not be silent anymore,” said Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, a tri-chair of the Ohio branch of the national effort.

Just a few feet away, The Ohio State University graduate Karen Hewitt stood shoulder to shoulder with others in support of the campaign.

Hewitt got her masters’ degree at OSU and said she still feels disadvantaged. She took to the microphone a short time after Smith and expressed her feelings in lyrical prose.

“Let me break it down simply; slavery, ghettos, white flight, segregation, desegregation, food deserts, gentrification; how am I supposed to succeed when the chips are literally against me,” said Hewitt.

Hewitt says now is the right time to resurrect the poor people’s campaign.

“When you look at the state of our world now, and the policies that are in place and the policies that are being taken to legislation, you’re looking at a government that is showing you blatantly and boldly that they don’t care about the people,” said Hewitt.

Fifty years have passed since the original campaign, and the demands have been updated for the 21st century.

Supporters held signs that read; poverty is immoral; the war economy is immoral; ecological devastation is immoral; and systematic racism is immoral.

After making the announcement a few dozen supporters hand delivered letters to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

They expect them to adopt an agenda that will recognize and lift up the poor and disenfranchised people in Ohio.

The campaign is set to kick off May 13th.

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