Advocates for Mississippi's poor took their rally to the streets of Jackson, blocking traffic to make their point.
Holding hands and chanting "forward towards justice not one step back," about 20 members of the Poor People's Campaign blocked traffic at an intersection near the state capitol in Jackson. Police escorted them from the street but didn't make any arrests. Susan Meadors of Clinton is a part of the group named after an initiative by Dr. Martin Luther King before he was killed in 1968.
"We made our point. I mean this is the first day. We think about Mississippi as a state of hospitality and you know the children in Mississippi, we need to stand up for them," said Meadors.
Meadors gets emotional talking about children living in poverty in Mississippi, the poorest state in the nation. For six weeks organizers will rally and occupy streets to call for a moral revival. They says it's part of a national campaign involving 41 states to draw attention to poverty. This rally focuses on children, women, and the disabled. Pastor Jeffrey Stafford spoke at the capitol ahead of the street protest about the need for compassionate policies.
"If we can just demonstrate a measure of compassion for the children and the women and the disabled who are among us and who are a part of us then some how I believe that the Word of God will make sure we are a better society," said Stafford.
Jameson Taylor is with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. He says the government can't solve poverty. He says it's a complex issue involving individuals, families and communities.
"The essence of poverty is relational. That's why I think the solution is going to come from churches, from the non-profit sector, from groups focused on bringing healing through these relationships," said Taylor.
Mississippians will join others in Washington, DC for a Mass Poor People's Campaign Rally June 23rd.