The Colorado Poor People’s Campaign rallied at the state capitol on Monday January 14th at 10am to demand the state deliver on lawmakers’ promise of a “Colorado for All” agenda in the new legislative session.
Vinnie Cervantes of the Colorado Poor People’s Campaign says that it is important that lawmakers here the voices of those that are traditionally marginalized.
“We need poor people, we need people of color, we need people being hurt by the environment… we need those people concerns to be heard at the capital and to be manifested into legislation this year.. [The Poor People’s Campaign] will be a declaration to list some of the national demands that reflects the work that we can do in the state and to make the legislature know that we’re gonna be around to hold them accountable.”
Cervantes says that The Colorado Poor People’s Campaign promises to hold the Legislature accountable if the Capitol banners offer little more than lip service to the state’s poor, sick and dispossessed as this is a moral issue.
“If we can’t look at what’s happening with people trying to come into this country, separating children, detaining asylum seekers… If we can’t look at that as a moral issue then I think that we need to look at who’s determining that moral framework.”
The rally takes place one week before the national holiday honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the founding of the original Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. The national movement has several demands:
- We demand an end to poverty. Between 1979 and 2012, average income in Colorado rose 188%: 184% for the top 1% and 4% for the rest of us. It is a criminal offense to be homeless in the snow and cover yourself for warmth with anything more than the clothes on your back.
- We demand an end to systemic racism like black and brown people forced from their homes by gentrification, the disproportionate incarceration of black and brown people, and the blatant dismantling of voting rights.
- We demand an end to militarism and the war economy. It is unacceptable that police shootings soared to nearly 500 in the first half of 2017, the last year numbers for which numbers are available. It is unacceptable that Denver invests more than $400,000 annually to violently sweep the homeless from view instead of aggressively funding housing.
- We demand an end to ecological devastation. Fracking kills people and animals; it cannot continue to be allowed especially in proximity to neighborhoods and schools. America’s most polluted neighborhood is Denver’s Globeville, Elyria, Swansea; people die from unexplained disease, children suffer lung disease at astonishing rates, and Colorado responds by digging up the neighboring super-fund site to construct a highway. This is callous, inhumane and intolerable.
- We demand an end to this country’s distorted moral narrative. White supremacist evangelical Christians have lifted up a moral narrative that criminalizes the poor, poisons mothers and children, hinders the participation in democracy and murders the innocent. Lifting up the stories of those most impacted and vulnerable, we must move forward in love, compassion and humanity.