0541 GMT June 26, 2022
Participants began at Freedom Plaza and marched along Pennsylvania Avenue for the Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington. Many hoisted signs with messages such as “homes not drones,” “let’s smash capitalism together,” and “reparations not occupation” — words reflecting the myriad causes and concerns that drew attendees from across the country, The Washington Post reported.
It was a crowd with a diverse mix of black and white, Latino and Asian, young families with babies, retirees, union members and college students. The speakers cycling to and from the stage addressed a range of topics including environmental justice, challenges faced by Indigenous people, gun violence and gentrification.
"As long as there are 140 million poor and low-income people in this country, and we know it doesn't have to be this way, we won't be silent anymore," said the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, npr.org reported.
Barber also spoke on the disproportionate impacts of the COVID pandemic for low-income people. The Poor People's Campaign released a study in April it said showed that Americans in poor counties died at nearly twice the rate of those in richer counties.
"We know that prior to the pandemic, poor people died at a rate of 700 people a day – 250,000 a year," Barber said.
"Poor people have been two to five times more likely to die from COVID during this pandemic so far, and we know this can't simply be explained by way of vaccination results; it's related to the discrimination in our policy toward poor and low-wealth people," he said.
Demonstrators traveled from all over the U.S. to protest inequality.