RI Poor People’s Campaign supports federal resolution to end povertyThird Reconstruction Resolution is “a historic omnibus vision to summon the moral and political resolve of the nation to center the needs of the 140 million people who are poor, low-wealth and/or living one emergency away from economic ruin – and millions more since the pandemic – with moral laws and policies.”
Published on June 8, 2021
By Steve Ahlquist
The Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign held a news conference on Monday outside the office of United States Representative David Cicilline (Democrat, Rhode Island) to draw attention to the Third Reconstruction Resolution to end poverty and low wages in this country. Similar events were held outside the offices of Representatives across the country.
Representative Cicilline has signed onto the House resolution, while Rhode Island’s other Representative, James Langevin (Democrat) has not.
Introduced by Representatives Pramila Jayapal (Democrat, Washington) and Barbara Lee (Democrat, California), the resolution demands the United States fully address poverty and low wages from the bottom up and is, say the sponsors, ”a historic omnibus vision to summon the moral and political resolve of the nation to center the needs of the 140 million people who are poor, low-wealth and/or living one emergency away from economic ruin – and millions more since the pandemic – with moral laws and policies.”
The resolution aims to:
- Protect our democracy through expanding our voting rights, comprehensive and just immigration reform, guaranteeing Native and Indigenous rights; addressing the war economy; and guaranteeing adequate incomes, living wages and the general welfare;
- Prioritize the needs and demands of the 140 million people who are poor or one health care crisis, job loss, storm or emergency away from economic desperation, with policies that build up from the bottom, including around housing, healthcare, welfare, water, and equitable high-quality and diverse public education;
- Update the poverty measure to reflect what it takes to secure a decent standard of living today as a new baseline for anti-poverty and social welfare programs;
- Develop a federal jobs program that prioritizes poor and low-wealth communities (both urban and rural) to address racial and wealth inequality and build up public infrastructure through socially beneficial and climate resilient jobs and development;
- Raise resources to invest in these priorities by redirecting military spending and carceral spending, implementing fair taxation and being willing to use deficit spending.
Outside the offices of Representative Cicilline, Anthony Graham acted as emcee for the news conference, starting the event with a song:
Father Ray Tetrault:
Pamela Poniatowski, Rhode Poor People’s Campaign Coordinating Committee Tri-Chair:
Diamond Madsen spoke about the importance of ending poverty from the point of view of bing born into poverty:
Joe Benton, from DARE‘s Behind the Walls Campaign, spoke about being incarcerated and the torture of Rhode Island’s solitary confinement:
Pastor Carl Jefferson, Rhode Poor People’s Campaign Coordinating Committee Tri-Chair:
Enrique Sanchez spoke about growing up as a Mexican immigrant to the United States:
John Larkin spoke about growing up in poverty and the struggle of even having to figure out transportation to the event:
Alesia Ross is a Pawtucket resident who spoke on the need to address systemic poverty in Rhode Island:
Peter Nightingale, Rhode Poor People’s Campaign Coordinating Committee Tri-Chair:
Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman spoke about the importance of universal health insurance, and the warped values that preclude that from happening in the United States:
Sister Mary Pendergast, RSM, Sisters of Mercy and Patricia Fontes read excerpts from the Third Reconstruction Resolution:
Reverend Gene Dyszlewski, representing the Rhode Island Council of Churches and the Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty with a closing prayer:
Martin, from Climate Action Rhode Island:
Anthony Graham closes out with more music:
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