/No room for them’ For Mississippians in deep poverty, voting is easier said than done

No room for them’ For Mississippians in deep poverty, voting is easier said than done

Tony Moore, the man, stated that he would rather make a difference in his local community, give help to those living in poverty, than vote on Election Day. Jed Blackerby and Chris Purdon won’t vote as they can’t. They both claim they are among the almost 10% of Mississippians who have been permanently denied their right to vote by a felony conviction. Vivian Sims claimed she registered to vote “just in case,” but she doesn’t think she will cast a ballot come November 6. Mississippi Today spoke with a dozen people in Stewpot on the day that the long-time civil rights activist, the Rev. William Barber II, a member of the Poor People’s Campaign’s moral revival that aims to engage low-income Americans, visited Jackson. Barber explained to the crowd that anyone who tries to stop you from voting is trying to deny that your body was made in the image and likeness of God. Barber stated that if ever we were to need to vote, we should vote immediately. Because voting is a moral responsibility and a religious obligation. A person’s economic status strongly correlates to their political engagement. According to data from the 2014 midterm elections, the Pew Research Center found that the most financially secure Americans vote three times more than those who are less financially secure. This statistic is illuminating because political candidates seldom speak on the issues facing people living in deep poverty. Barber stated that this is because politicians and lawmakers frame issues for others instead of asking people their concerns and then constructing policy around them. Marquise Hunt, president of Tougaloo College’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Chapter, said that it was a mistake to ask people about their issues. “The most important thing in life is to get to know people.” Only 13 percent of registered voters took part in the June primaries in Mississippi, which is the poorest state in America, with nearly one-in-five residents living in poverty. The Poor People’s Campaign aims to mobilize grassroots voices to demand that policies and practices it claims prevent people from fleeing poverty such as voter suppression, voter suppression, income inequality and the prison industrial complex. The 11 a.m. rally was attended by hundreds of locals, including middle-class professionals, students at Lanier High School, and residents of nearby nursing homes. They gathered at Greater Mount Calvary Baptist Church, less than one mile from Stewpot which is Jackson’s most well-known soup kitchen and homeless service agency. During the passionate sermons by Barber, local clergymen and community activists, attendees rose to their feet and cheered as organizers handed out pledge cards. Participating in the movement requires that you agree to organize events, participate in voter mobilization in poor areas, promote the agenda via social media, and deliver the campaign’s demands directly to politicians. Jill Buckley is the executive director of Stewpot Community Services. She stated that the campaign was new to them and they were unsure how to get their voices heard. She said, “I think that’s true for many people, but perhaps more so for those who have so little control or influence over their lives, that they don’t really know how to make their voices heard or how making that voice heard will really matter for people in power.” Mississippi Today was told by a middle-aged man that he does not have an ID card, which would be required to vote. Another said that he has never registered to vote. He said that he didn’t know anything about the voting process. Buckley attended meetings for the Poor People’s Campaign, which Buckley praises. She was also invited to the Wednesday rally. However, no representative of the campaign has ever visited Stewpot to engage the community. Buckley stated that Stewpot is a place where people come together to share their lack of goods. Stewpot would be an ideal place to organize. Sims, who is a security guard, stated that no candidate or politician has addressed her biggest concern, the homeless people she sees downtown as she returns from work. Sims stated, “I get up every night from work to go through there and that same lady doesn’t know what to do… is sleeping down that bench.” Sims said, “Either they don’t have enough space or there isn’t anywhere to go. Maybe they don’t have the ability to speak for themselves. They might not have a voice.” She added, “So if there was an issue or any political matter that I could speak on, it would be for those people.” None of the U.S. Senate candidates — Incumbent U.S. Senators. Roger Wicker, Cindy Hyde-Smith and state senator Chris McDaniel, as well as state rep. David Baria, Mike Espy, and Cindy Hyde Smith, all of whom are running for the U.S. Senate — Incumbent U.S. Sens. “Many of our tendency is to see people who live in shelters and are schizophrenic or downtrodden as having no ambition, they just happened to be there and that’s exactly what they deserve,” Iya’falola Omobola, a local activist and co-founder of Cooperation Jackson said at Wednesday’s rally. I want you to understand that homelessness does not exist as a mental state. It is not a condition. It is the result of our country. My daughter and I lived in a shelter for nine months. It was a place that appreciated us and was able help us uplift ourselves again.” The average apartment in a two-bedroom apartment in Mississippi is available to rent at $14.51 an hour. This is according to the 2018 National Low Income Housing Coalition report “Out of Reach.” This standard states that housing costs should not exceed 30 percent of a person’s income. Omobola is now a case manager at the shelter where she used to live. According to her, at least 10 people pass through their doors every day. We don’t have enough room for them. There is absolutely no place here. Omobola stated that we need to reach an agreement when talking about the Poor People’s Campaign. We’re referring to everyone around the globe. Last spring, the Poor People’s Campaign was launched with “40 Days of Action” where roughly 50,000 people participated in peaceful protests and marches in 42 states. Some even were arrested for refusing leave their state capital buildings. These demonstrations are reminiscent of the campaign of the identical name, which was organized by the Rev. After visiting the small Delta town Marks in 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw children without shoes and visited again. The current Poor People’s Campaign organizers in Mississippi held several rallies this summer. They burned the state flag outside the Governor’s residence with about two dozen people watching. In the weeks before Barber’s visit, they also deployed canvassing teams. Thomas Jenkins, a bishop at New Dimensions International Ministries, Jackson, and leader of Mississippi’s Poor People’s Campaign, stated that one of their primary missions is to provide information and arm the community. Jenkins stated that many people speak of poverty in generalized terms. Jenkins explained, “So we come up with facts.” “Once we have the facts, and the facts are out there, people can go to their congressman and say, Here are these facts and here are the policy that caused them to be what they were.'” Jenkins said. For example, in the U.S., the richest three residents own $248.5 billion more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country (or over 160 million people). Although productivity has increased by 77 per cent in the United States since 1973, hourly earnings have grown by 12 per cent. According to a New York Times Magazine analysis of poverty employment, if the federal minimum wage had increased alongside productivity, it would have been more than $20 an hr today. The social safety net is also shrinking. According to the most recent data, Mississippi spent only 6.5 percent of its federal grant, known as “welfare”, for Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (or “welfare”) in 2017. This was just after it had received a total of $17 million. This assistance was received by 5,682 families in 2017, down from 11,377 in 2012. The number of families receiving this assistance has declined from 11,377 in 2012 to 5,682 in 2017. Both candidates support increasing the minimum wage. Espy, on his campaign website, and Baria through the House’s public statements and legislation he has introduced in the House both support this. The Poor People’s Campaign identifies the nation’s 40 million-plus people who are poor to policies that allow wealthy individuals to accumulate large amounts of the nation’s wealth, and to the absence of federal programs for the needy. Purdon said that Mississippi wants to take all of their money and put them somewhere, and he pointed out the abandoned buildings along West Capitol Street near Stewpot. “So excuse me my French, Mississippi isn’t shit.” Social workers and charities have almost no connection between political engagement and providing assistance. “If you are able to lift yourself from the daily grind, then you will realize that voting is important. Buckley stated that so much of what it is about is making sure people have enough food, shelter and clothing — to meet their basic needs. “We perhaps don’t keep citizen action in our minds,” Buckley explained. Buckley stated that transportation is a major barrier to low-income people being able to visit their doctor, go to job interviews, or vote on Election Day. Many activist groups offer carpooling services and have partnered with Uber to provide free rides for voters. The Poor People’s Campaign organized a visit to West Jackson Tuesday. They canvassed the area around Greater Mount Calvary just a day before their rally. One stretch of Grand Avenue was empty. The block was lined with abandoned, neglected homes. The block was lined with abandoned, dilapidated homes. Canvassers passed them as they walked over the glass bottles and overgrown sidewalks. These empty lots and homes — an estimated 3,000 in Jackson — are all part of a city that has hundreds of homeless. Erica Williams, a Michigan native who is also the national organizer of the campaign, said: “Why, in one of the wealthest countries in the world, are we having these problems?”_x000D