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Movement That Aims To Give Voice To Poor People Comes To Maine

Caitlin Troutman
Maine Public
Members of the Poor People's Campaign address a crowd of about 300 people Thursday in Portland.

The Poor People’s Campaign, a movement originally organized by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., made a stop in Portland Thursday night on its national  “We Must Do More” tour. The campaign works to address issues concerning "systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation."

Josh Kauppila is on the state coordinating committee of the Maine Poor People's Campaign. "By building a nationwide movement that connects people on the ground and puts directly impacted people in positions to speak to those in power and to those in their community, it's really an opportunity to fundamentally change the dialogue in this country, because poor people have been without a voice for so long," Kauppila said.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the national campaign, spoke to the crowd gathered at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church about specific issues affecting Mainers.

“There's not a town or county or city anywhere in this state, anywhere in this country, where if you're working full time and making minimum wage that you can afford a two bedroom apartment,” Theoharis said.

The event began with a march from Lincoln Park to the church, where more than 300 people gathered.

The tour is scheduled to end with a mass march in Washington D.C. in June.