Protesters from the North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign took to the streets of downtown Raleigh today, blocking traffic and calling on lawmakers to address the issue of poverty, focusing especially on women, children and people with disabilities. At the height of the event, police gave citations to around 50 people for impeding the flow of traffic on Jones Street.
The event brought people from different walks of life, including single mothers, a reverend and a group of grandmothers who serenaded the crowd. The Raleigh rally was the first local participation in the six weeks of nonviolent action across the country based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s original goals in the 1960s.
This rally’s theme was ‘Somebody Is Hurting Our People and It’s Gone on Far Too Long’ and held special sentiment for many at the rally, including single mother and certified school teacher Aileen Womark-Montes.
"I was treated like it was all my fault, like I was stupid for not planning better, like I had done something terribly wrong for being poor and needing welfare. In short, I was shamed for being poor.” Womark-Montes said. “I was at the mercy of a broken system that mistreated me even though they didn't know my story and took away the little bit of confidence I had to fight for what my family needed.”
Some of the demands by the campaign include equal pay, equity in education and an end to military aggression. The North Carolina Poor People’s Campaign came forward as nonpartisan.