Photo credit: Jo Freeman
From a stage at Constitution and Pennsylvania Ave. many speakers addressed a few thousand people gathered in the street below.
There was no program or even an online speakers’ list, so it was difficult to identify any but the two co-chairs: Rev. William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis.
Most speakers were at the mic for only a couple of minutes, telling their own stories of poverty and deprivation.
Some people carried banners identifying their churches or organizations.
Many more identified with their states.
Their t-shirts gave them away.
Some promoted their own messages, though most tried to relate these to poverty.
Several hundred people gathered at Freedom Plaza prior to the main rally.
They heard a Sabbath service in one tent.
The DC heat wave receded the night before, but gusty winds created problems.
An hour before the main rally, participants walked down Pennsylvania Ave.
It wasn’t a march; just a walk.
Previous protests would pause at the Trump Hotel to shake their fists, among other things. However, the Trump Hotel closed on May 11, 2022, after the lease to what had once been the Old Post Office Building was sold. It reopened as a Waldorf Astoria on June 1.
Further down were two large water trucks and lots of porta-potties.
The walkers passed a thousand chairs set up in front of a Jumbotron.
Only a few sat down.
The rest proceeded to the front of the main stage at Third St.
As they got close, marshals passed out large signs on poles.
At the western edge of the rally, they were greeted by a “tank” created by CodePink, an anti-war group.
Demographically, there were more oldsters than youngsters. Children were few and far between. They were about evenly split between Black and white, with a heavy sprinkling of Hispanics.
Participants sat in the sun for roughly three hours, though many drifted away gradually.
Rev. Barber concluded the rally by saying, “We’ll be back in September.”
Jo Freeman is a feminist scholar and author.
Copyright © 2022 Jo Freeman.
One thought on “Poor People’s Campaign Rallies on Capitol Hill”
Jo, Thank you for so beautifully documenting the “power of the people.” I appreciate your talent and energy.