Caravans of protesters drove Monday to the Washington home and Kentucky offices of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The protesters, who were affiliated with the Poor People’s Campaign, say the Kentucky senator is blocking legislation that could help Americans through the coronavirus crisis.
Protests were held in McConnell’s offices in London, Lexington, Fort Wright, Louisville, Bowling Green and Paducah, and at his home in Washington, D.C.
“McConnell, Trump, their enablers, are grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt,” said Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Liz Theoharis during a livestream simultaneous to the protests. “But the God of those who can’t breathe, those dying from lack of medical care and attacks on Medicaid and Medicaid Expansion, will not stand for it.”
Kentucky-born actress Ashley Judd made an appearance on the livestream, choking back tears as she mentioned her grief over the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “This is a righteous fight,” she said. “The determination and the grit and the resolve that is being tapped into, like a taproot of a mighty tree, is going to help lift us.”
Founded by civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967, the Poor People’s Campaign advocates for racial and environmental justice in a movement led by low-income people. The campaign has recently released a policy platform called the Moral Policy Agenda to Heal and Transform America.
A recent report from the Poor People’s Campaign found that low-income eligible voters are about 20 percentage points less likely to vote in national elections than their richer counterparts. In West Virginia, Kentucky and several other states, low-income voters made up one fifth of the eligible voter base, and in 2016, West Virginia had the second-lowest voter turnout of any state, beating only Hawaii.
Protesters also invoked the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, and urged McConnell not to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant when the Justice passed away Friday.