State Police arrest peaceful protesters

Today was the finale of the Poor People’s Campaign’s #40DaysOfAction.

As the Poor People’s Campaign’s #40DaysOfAction rally concluded, State Police arrested volunteers at the front door of the State House Annex for seeking to enter during public hours to deliver a letter demanding a moral budget to Senate President Sweeney.

About 20 heavily armed State Troopers were present throughout the peaceful protest designed to emulate the non-violent demonstrations organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s that demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds.

Today’s demonstration is the campaign’s last of a series of six protests scheduled at the State Capitol this spring. Last week’s protest was the second in a row where state police denied group access.

The Poor People’s Campaign agenda calls for “nonviolent direct action” to encourage people to support policies that curb poverty. The group will take its case to Washington, D.C., for the national march and rally at the U.S. Capitol on June 23.

“The Poor People’s Campaign was motivated by a desire for economic justice,: said Lisa McCormick, who was among those who attended the event in Trenton. “It is a movement advocating the idea that all people should have what they need to live, especially in the richest and most powerful democracy on the planet. It is not really radical, but it just seems that common sense is perceived that way in a world gone mad.”

New Jersey legislators are debating the state’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget and some demonstrators say they want to ensure investment in programs that help working families, adding that bold action must be taken to raise revenue in a fair and just way.

“New Jersey must be able to invest in its future and meet its obligations to education, environmental protection, access to health care, and broader economic justice,” said McCormick.

The Poor People’s March on Washington, was a 1968 effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

The Poor People’s Campaign was the second phase of the civil rights movement. King said, “We believe the highest patriotism demands the ending of the war and the opening of a bloodless war to final victory over racism and poverty.”

It was carried out under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy in the wake of King’s assassination.

On Sunday May 12, 1968, demonstrators led by Coretta Scott King began a two-week protest in Washington, D.C., demanding an Economic Bill of Rights.

he Committee demanded an Economic Bill of Rights with five planks:

“A meaningful job at a living wage”

“A secure and adequate income” for all those unable to find or do a job

“Access to land” for economic uses

“Access to capital” for poor people and minorities to promote their own businesses

Ability for ordinary people to “play a truly significant role” in the government

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