Group calls for enactment of Pa. and federal ‘moral agenda’

Written by on March 30, 2021

Group calls for enactment of Pa. and federal ‘moral agenda’

By Alanna Elder / WITF

March 30, 2021

Pa. Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Nijimie Dzurinko speaks to the group’s policy demands outside the state capitol building in Harrisburg. Photo | Alanna Elder / WITF

Advocates are calling on state and federal lawmakers to act on a list of policy items as a follow-up to its voter engagement work last year.

 

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The Poor People’s Campaign is urging protection of voters’ rights.   

At one point this year, the commonwealth had more proposed measures to limit voting than any other state except Arizona.

Group Co-Chair Nijmie Dzuringo says while her organization did not endorse any candidates, it did talk to more than 2 million poor and low-income voters about its platform.

“I want everyone here to appreciate the work that we collectively did in the lead-up to this election. This is also why the right to vote is now under attack,” Dzuringo says.

In Pennsylvania, the proposed legislation would restrict mail-in voting, Dzuringo notes. A number of bills also seek to expand voting rights.

The Poor People’s Campaign is pushing for items like automatic voter registration and making Election Day a holiday.

The group is pressing the general assembly to enact what they are calling a moral agenda not limited to voting rights. 

Also included are a sweep of priorities involving economic, racial, and environmental justice. The group calls for banning political gifts, waving bus fares for low-income riders, and reinstating adult dental benefits to Medicaid.

In its materials, the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign frequently uses the number 140 million to describe people whose income is 200% below the poverty line.

Dzuringo says they had a voice in the policy demands.

“They come out of the lives, struggles, agency, and insights of the 140 million and our moral, economic and legal allies,” Dzuringo says, “They embody a politics of love, justice, and truth that can defeat the politics of death, heal the nation, and bring us down the path toward genuine democracy.” 

Near the top of the agenda is a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage and changes to the way the government measures poverty.  

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