This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Poor People's March on Washington when poor people from across the country came together to demand economic justice. In an effort to mark this significant anniversary and to highlight the continuing struggle of poor people the world over, the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC)organized the 2018 Poor People's March on Washington, culminating in the creation of Resurrection City on June 12th.
Today, the PPEHRC Poor People's March on Washington shut down the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). According to today's press release, the group's goal was to demand “housing as human right and a sit down with Ben Carson to address the $200,000 in cuts being made to Section 8 in HUD’S Welfare Reform 2.0. The march is one of several actions taken by the Poor People’s March on Washington, organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), a multicultural group of poor and homeless families and individuals, youth, veterans, returning citizens, people with disabilities, and people who receive SSI, WIC, SNAP, and other life-saving services.”
As seen in live Facebook videos activists were present and speaking as they awaited a meeting with Ben Carson.
According to additional videos take at HUD, Cheri Honkala, creator of PPEHRC and the first welfare recipient to testify before Congress regarding the impact of welfare cuts, Pastor Bruce and a photographer were left inside the building after being surrounded by authorities and doors to building were then locked.
As seen in the live video, Honkala was soon arrested while inside HUD.
After officers with the Department of Homeland Security put Honkala in handcuffs, they exited the building where they were met by others from the Poor People's March on Washington who had been outside HUD when the doors were locked. Activists can be heard shouting that Honkala is a poor, single mother and only wanted to meet with Carson regarding the $200,000 in cuts being made to Section 8. Honkala can be heard telling officers and others that she was unable to feel her left hand.
Despite Honkala's arrest, Resurrection City is going ahead as planned.
“On June 2nd, the Poor People’s March on Washington DC gathered in Kensington, Philadelphia - the poorest district in Philadelphia - to march to Washington, DC and setup Resurrection City in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s original Poor People’s March. New marchers joined throughout the march, with 45 marchers arriving in DC on June 9th ranging in age from 7 to senior citizens. Marchers seek to highlight ‘The Ugly Road’ walked by the poor in the U.S. and abroad everyday, and to demand the rights of the poor be observed, guaranteed by Articles 23, 25, and 26 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The marchers used the road to DC as a form of movement building on which they collectively envisioned what their self-determined liberation would look like, including reclaiming the basic necessities of life such as food, housing, and shelter, and envisioning how to formally set up a cooperative economy among the poor. They aim to build independent political power, and bring national attention to the brutal realities of our lives in poverty.”
Cheri Honkala is an anti-poverty advocate, co-founder and National Coordinator of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, and sits on the Steering Committee of the Women's March on the Pentagon. Honkala was Jill Stein's running mate in the 2012 presidential election.
Support the Poor People's March on Washington here.