Poor People’s Campaign to register voters on 20-state tour

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Poor People’s Campaign will begin touring more than 20 states later this month to bring together residents of disenfranchised communities and help them register to vote.

The Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the campaign, said Monday at a news conference in Washington, D.C., that the tour begins Sept. 16 in El Paso, Texas, and will culminate on June 20 with an assembly on the National Mall in Washington. Three stops are planned in at least 22 states, with Day 1 focusing on the communities and their stories; Day 2 on voter registration and Day 3 on a march and rally.

MORE — an acronym for Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, Educating — will build on a multistate anti-poverty tour that began in February and ended with the People’s Moral Action Congress in Washington.

“We have identified areas all over the country where, if just 2% of poor and low-wealth people and their allies are organized, it changes the political calculus and can make a huge electoral difference,” Barber said in a statement. He said such votes could make a difference in the 2020 reelection bids of U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis in North Carolina and Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

The original Poor People’s Campaign was established by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in December 1967, four months before he was assassinated. Barber revived that campaign in 2017, four years after he had started the “Moral Monday” movement, which organized protests about issues including gerrymandering, voting rights, LGBTQ rights and unions.

The new, nine-month-long MORE campaign will carry over into next year, when voters will decide whether they’re satisfied with the direction taken by President Donald Trump. MORE’s organizers made a conscious decision to make Washington, D.C., the campaign’s last stop, Barber said.

“We are coming back to demonstrate our collective power and to demand that the agenda of this campaign inform the platforms of both parties’ conventions ahead of the 2020 election,” Barber said.


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