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February, 2006

Poverty is the crisis from the Gulf Coast to Georgia
Poor People's Day at the Capitol 2006


By Sandra Robertson

Of all the social issues that plague this country, poverty continues to be the greatest ill that is destroying this nation's potential for real freedom and democracy. Poverty, racism and unbridled capitalism together, are the trinity that the elite rulers of this nation seem to worship. It is time for the citizens of this country, yes, the working people of this nation, to put a stop to this scenario and seek an end to poverty, city by city, state by state until this country (and even the world) is free from this wretched social, economical, political disease.

Poor People's Day at the Capitol is an annual event held in Atlanta and is coordinated by about 65-70 co-sponsoring grassroots organizations, calling themselves the Up and Out of Poverty NOW Coalition. This Coalition has been a project of the Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger for 26 years. This two-day event, including Education Day and Action Day activities, has been one of the ways that poor people's voices and their allies have been able to be heard and seen during the Georgia General Assembly of State Legislators. This year's event will be held on Wednesday, February 8th and Thursday, February 9th at Trinity United Methodist Church, 265 Washington Street, in downtown Atlanta.

The agenda for this year's event will include six workshops on critical issues facing low-wage workers in Georgia, including Women's Healthcare, State Funding for Public Transportation and Grady Hospital, Voter I.D. legislation, Affordable Housing and issues around homelessness, the Criminal Justice Parole System, Medicaid Budget cuts and lack of health insurance for the working poor. Our legislative agenda will include supporting legislation on Living Wage jobs, healthcare and Corporate Accountability. We will also support state funding for public transportation and healthcare services.

There will also be testimony and speakers from the Gulf Coast, linking the tragedy of poverty for the Katrina survivors to the tragedy of poverty of those who were not hit by the hurricane living in cities and counties across America. The Crisis is Poverty. This will be a powerful day of learning and preparing ourselves for action on Action Day.

On Thursday, February 9th, Action Day, there will be inspirational speakers, a public speak-out, a rally and a protest march, as well as a press event. This is the day that we will tell our stories to the media, legislators and to one another. These activities on both days are always wrapped in cultural clothing, including prayers from a variety of religious traditions, songs, dancing, poetry, testimony and celebration for freedom and justice.

The general public is invited to attend. Everything is free to the public. If you need more information about this event contact Sandra Robertson at (404) 622-7778 or email us at hungercoalition@mindspring.com. More than 400 grassroots people from across the state of Georgia will attend. Lunch will be served each day. All of these activities are free, but freedom and justice are not free. We all have to contribute our time and resources to make positive change happen. If you would like to help us underwrite the cost of this year's Poor People's Day activities please contact our office and send your tax deductible contribution to:

Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger
Up and Out of Poverty Now!!
9 Gammon Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30315

Sandra Robertson is the executive director of the Georgia Citizens Coalition on Hunger.


This article originated in the People's Tribune
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