Michigan activists call for state lawmakers to fight against poverty

Michigan activists call for state lawmakers to fight against poverty

Michigan Poor People’s Campaign Chair Derrick Knox Jr. (Screenshot via Michigan Advance)

By Michigan Advance

March 5, 2024

BY KEN COLEMAN, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—Dozens of Michigan activists rallied at the Michigan Capitol on Saturday and called for the state government lawmakers and executives across the nation to respond to poverty.

“It’s time to take back the mic. It’s time to lift our voices,” said Michigan Poor People’s Campaign Chair Derrick Knox Jr. “It’s time to register our votes and make our demands.”

The gathering is part of a 40-week effort to “mobilize poor and low-wage voters across the state, and demand legislators take immediate action to end the crisis of death by poverty in the United States,” according Knox, a leading clergy leader in Lansing. More than 30 similar efforts were carried out at state capitals across the country. The group wants to mobilize 15 million poor and low-wage voters in more than 30 states ahead of the 2024 November general election.

About 13.4% of Michigan’s 10 million residents live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Knox was joined by Azhanae Ailing and Mia Pamp, who are Indigenous community leaders; Natasha Atkinson of Legislative Solutions; and Jean Duchemim of United Auto Workers Local 1753, among others.

Poverty is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. There are approximately 85 million poor and low-wage eligible voters in this country who represent at least 30% of the electorate. “In so-called battleground states it’s close to and over 40%. More than 800 people die each day as a result of being poor and low-wealth,” according to the National Poor People’s Campaign.

In addition to Michigan, those states include Alabama, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.

“We can no longer accept a piecemeal policy that doesn’t actually fill the gaps,” Atkinson said. “ Or meet the needs of our community that is more than vocal about what it needs and what we need in order to remain productive and to feel valued in our communities.”

Knox said that members of the group this week will “deliver a comprehensive package to legislators on both sides of the political aisle documenting the conditions poor people are facing in their state and the bold actions that can be taken to address these crises.”

READ MORE: How much are you saving under Michigan Dems’ new tax cuts?

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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CATEGORIES: MONEY AND JOBS
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