California Poor People’s Campaign

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Bus Tour coming to Oakland

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Poor People's Campaign will hold bus tours of poverty-stricken areas in more than 20 states to call attention to "what the national emergencies really are" in the wake of President Donald Trump's emergency declaration over the U.S.-Mexico border, a leader of the campaign says.

The tours will begin in late March and continue through April, said the Rev. William Barber of North Carolina. Participants will include poor people, religious and political leaders and other advocates, he said. California's tour will travel to Oakland on Saturday, April 6th.

The tours were always planned as part a revived version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Poor People's Campaign that launched in December 2017 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of King's original campaign, Barber said. But Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico added urgency, he said.

"Part of the problem that we see in policies of Democrats vs. Republicans is one talks about they want the wall and the other side said they don't want the wall," Barber said in a phone interview. "But nobody has sat down and said: 'Here are the real emergencies and here is how these resources could be used to address these real emergencies.'"

California’s tour will highlight poverty, prison economy targeting the poor, environmental degradation, housing built on toxic waste sites, gentrification and displacement of entire communities, racism, police brutality aimed at communities of color, lack of access to quality education, the military economy preying on the most vulnerable, families being separated by ICE and held for profit at privatized detention centers, and fueling all of this is the consciousness of profit over people justified by a distorted moral narrative that somehow people deserve the treatment they are subjected to.

“The California Organizing Bus Tour will engage and highlight communities who have been left behind in the richest and poorest state in the Nation. Starting April 1st to April 12th, we will begin our tour in Northern California near the border with Oregon in the Yurok Reservation. This is to ground us from the beginning in the understanding on whose lands we are standing on and remind us that these communities have been suffering poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, and the war economy from the inception of this country. We will make our way down to the border towards San Diego where we currently face a humanitarian crisis; where children are being separated from their parents and asylum seekers are being turned away. Along the way we will stop in the most impoverished communities in California hearing testimony and bearing witness to the need for housing, food, jobs and dignity. In Fresno County, rated the 2nd  extremely poor city in the US and the number 1 in poverty in California, we will convene a statewide hearing that will uplift the economic apartheid in one of the highest agricultural producing regions. We want to invite all Californians to join us in our demand for justice. FORWARD TOGETHER NOT ONE STEP BACK!”

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