Michigan people to mobilize for March on Washington June 18th in D.C.
Organizers are expecting a massive turnout for the coming June 18 March on Washington. Poor People’s Campaign.

Michigan workers are mobilizing to fight the right-wing’s attack on democracy. June 18th, Michigan will send hundreds of people to join the Poor People’s Campaign Moral March on Washington.

Organizers are busy mobilizing Michiganders from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Muskegon, and Benton Harbor, with more cities in the works.

Organizers say this time in our history is critical to protecting democracy. Marchers will demand workers’ rights and a shift in values from war and climate devastation to meet the needs of the people.

Organizers are coordinating with churches and community leaders to pool money for financial aid to travelers. People who wish to go should contact the Michigan chapter at michigan@poorpeoplescampaign.org.

The campaign’s national co-chair, Bishop William Barber II, says that 142 million U.S. people live in poverty. They work precariously or are one paycheck, health crisis, or disaster away from deep financial insecurity.

Fifty-two million people work for less than $15 per hour. Poverty and inequality cause 250,000 people each year to die early. And data from the federal government shows that people who live in the poorest counties in the country are suffering the most from the COVID pandemic.

Currently, half of Michigan’s children from households under the federal poverty line are cared for by working adults. They are living in conditions of working poverty. While adult members of the household work, they do not earn enough to lift the household over the federal poverty line.

This condition of poverty, early death, and suffering is “the basic moral contradiction” of the wealthiest country in the world.

Michigan supporters of the Poor People’s Campaign say they plan to fight this contradiction. Cuts in public education, from kindergarten to universities, to pay for right-wing tax cuts for the rich year after year are blocking Michigan workers’ technical and cultural development.

Poisoned water systems in Benton Harbor and Flint have not been fixed. The police violence that targets communities of color is deepening racist hostilities.

Workers are fighting back. Cereal workers in Battle Creek, nurses in Muskegon, graduate students in Ann Arbor, baristas and fast-food workers in Detroit, culinary workers in Norton Shores, and restaurant workers in Kalamazoo are among the wave of the workers’ uprising in 2021 and 2022.

But all of the people of Michigan can no longer afford to be silent, organizers of the Poor People’s Campaign say. The movement plans to unify workers and the people to fight systemic racism, against global climate change, lift workers and families out of poverty, and halt the right-wing assault on democracy.

Emma Greshek contributed to this story.


Joel Wendland-Liu
Joel Wendland-Liu

Joel Wendland-Liu teaches courses on diversity, intercultural competence, migration, and civil rights at Grand Valley State University in West Michigan. He is the author of "Mythologies: A Political Economy of U.S. Literature, Settler Colonialism, and Racial Capitalism in the Long Nineteenth Century" (International Publishers) and "The Collectivity of Life" (Lexington Books).