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There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
There are so many untold stories of how and why people become un-housed. Loss of a job, a partner, the onset of an illness or a crisis, but most of the time, in the Bay Area, it’s because of a greed-inspired landlord raising rent, evicting for profit so he or she can house the droves of 20-30-something wealthy, mostly white people streaming into town for the tech industry.
As the corporate domination of our food, land, air and water continues and the resistance heats up to the monster known as Monsanto, it must be said that in the U.S. it’s us po’ folks of all cultures and ages that are getting the worst of it. Some obvious, most not. And no one is really speaking for us. “The poor people’s plate is rooted in capitalist hate for the three job working mamaz caught in the welfare state.”
From the Mission District in San Francisco, to West, North and now East Oakland, several neighborhoods in LA, young Black and Brown men, convening, talking, laughing, being young, are viewed as “dangerous,” “suspect” or criminal. Laws like the gang injunction are instituted and applied, and eventually we are completely wiped away like we were never there.
From our perspective at POOR Magazine, we believe that as poor, indigenous, landless peoples, we need to create our own self-determined futures. With our meager resources – ‘cause POOR is in fact po’ – we held this event to make sure that this silenced community is really truly listened to by whomever wins this District 5 election.