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Mississippi's Poor People's Campaign Continues in 2018

Mississippi's Poor People's Campaign Continues in 2018
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Participants in a Poor People's Campaign Rally in Jackson
MPB News

Advocates for Mississippi's poor are rallying for the right to education, living wage jobs and affordable housing. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports from the steps outside the state capitol.

Members of the Poor People's Campaign are chanting "everybody's got the right to live." The group is named after a national movement started by Martin Luther King Jr. before he was killed in 1968.

Leading the chant is Karissa Bowley. She says every child in Mississippi has the right to a quality education.

"You don't choose to have a certain IQ. You don't choose to be born black in an impoverished neighborhood, you don't choose to be born white in a white impoverished neighborhood. You don't decide those things and as a child, it's not at all fair," said Bowley.

For weeks, organizers have been demonstrating in Jackson as part of a national campaign involving 41 states.

Tim Collins is with the Mississippi Housing Partnership. He says Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation and needs to invest more in public housing.

We're asking for the state of Mississippi would use some of its own resources its own tax dollars to dedicate to a low-income housing trust fund. Many of the resources you have going into affordable housing or low-income housing are from federal sources," said Collins.

Jameson Taylor is with the conservative Mississippi Center for Public Policy. He says the government can't solve poverty, but its the responsibility of individuals, churches, and non-profits.

Mississippi certainly has been dealing with systemic problems. We need innovative solutions and I think we need more people working on those problems. it' not the government's responsibility here in Mississippi, it's actually Mississippi's responsibility," said Taylor.

A mass Poor People's Campaign Rally is scheduled June 23rd in Washington, DC. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.