One of the last campaigns that Martin Luther King worked on was the Poor People’s Campaign. In announcing the campaign, King said that his SCLC would lead “waves of the nation’s poor and disinherited to Washington, D. C., next spring to demand redress of their grievances by theUnited States government and to secure at least jobs or income for all.” Further, he said:
We will go there, we will demand to be heard, and we will stay until America responds. If this means forcible repression of our movement, we will confront it, for we have done this before. If this means scorn or ridicule, we embrace it, for that is what America’s poor now receive. If it means jail, we accept it willingly, for the millions of poor already are imprisoned by exploitation and discrimination. But we hope, with growing confidence, that our campaign in Washington will receive at first a sympathetic understanding across our nation, followed by dramatic expansion of nonviolent demonstrations in Washington and simultaneous protests elsewhere. In short, we will be petitioning our government for specific reforms, and we intend to build militant nonviolent actions until that government moves against poverty.
However, of course, he would never get a chance to lead that campaign because, on April 4, 1968, an assassin shot and killed him outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
As I, like many Americans, commemorate and reflect on the 50th year of his death, I think about the Poor People’s Campaign. I also think of how hard it is to tackle poverty in America. I mean, when we talk about helping people out of poverty or even addressing poverty, there is such a backlash. I wonder, why when its time to cut budgets, we always go after the poor people?
So I took to Facebook to ask the question, “Why do we have such a disdain for poor people?” Here are some of the answers.
Now I ask you: Why do we have such a disdain for poor people? Please share your answers in the comment section below.