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Grassroots movement starts canvassing in Lafayette to mobilize marginalized

Posted: 10:18 PM, Aug 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-25 23:18:53-04

Louisiana Poor People’s Campaign is canvassing to share awareness of key issues impacting low-income communities.

On Saturday, the group held their first speak-out event in Lafayette to recruit people to their movement.

The Poor People’s Campaign, which disbanded after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968, is reforming in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

One major issue the campaign is focusing on is the growing wealth gap between the working class and corporations.

“If you put in 40 hours of your time in work, and work productively and work hard and earnestly and loyally, you should at least be able to at least afford a place to live and food to eat. You shouldn’t have to go on food stamps when you have a job,” said campaign member Matthew Isac.

Isac says that when full-time workers for large corporations qualify for food stamps, it equates to the government, i.e. taxpayers, subsidizing those corporations.

“Essentially if you make less than $1,100 dollars a month as a single person in Louisiana, you’re food stamp eligible. What many jobs pay now in Louisiana, $7.50 the minimum, (which) full time will not give you $11,000 dollars a month. So, an employer who is hiring people at $7.50 an hour is essentially asking the public to subsidize their corporation,” said Isac.

Members of The Poor People’ Campaign will be knocking on doors around Lafayette attempting to spread awareness of other major issues facing disenfranchised people.

“Mass incarceration has lead to many many people’s voting rights being taken away. Low wages have lead to people who have lived paycheck to paycheck, and just can’t make it. Just can’t pay their bills. High rents have lead to people being homeless. We spend far too much money on our military. A lot of that money could be spent on social services,” said Louisiana Poor People’s State Coordinator, Jackie Phelps.

The campaign does not endorse any politicians, but they are mobilizing poor and minority communities to vote in many tightly contested races across the country for the midterm elections.