Board of Directors
Poor Peoples March on Whatcom
Monday, January 16, 2012
aka: Martin Luther King Day Poverty Action March & Essential Needs Drive
1. To raise the Whatcom County community's awareness in regards to cuts in services in regards
poverty homelessness, education, and other social/health priorities important to our citizen's
2. To address our elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels on misplaced priorities
regarding balancing budgets on the backs of the poor, the disabled, the elderly, our children and
the long term consequences of such actions.
3. To continue to promote networking and solidarity among ally agencies and individuals who
work with, advocate for, and support those who have no voice in our political system while
promoting pathways from poverty to prosperity for all our citizens.
4. To provide a County-wide forum that allows for the free expression of concerns to the community
and to our political leaders.
Poor Peoples March Resolution
History does repeat itself and what goes around comes around. Our Country is facing the worst economic
crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930's. Over 10% of our fellow citizens are unemployed and looking
for work Millions are surviving only because of expanded unemployment and other assistance. Over 44 million
Americans, or one in seven of our residents are living in poverty. It is estimated that 20%, one in five of
our children are affected. The official pre-taxed poverty rate for a family of four is just $22,314 and for
an individual $10,800. There are many more "worki" poor among us. In addition, nationally and locally the
median household income continues to fall each year.
And where as,
In Washington State, over 890,000 people live in poverty including 242,000 children (18.2% of those under
18 were in household with incomes below the poverty level). Ten out of every one hundred (10%) 24,038 are
homeless. More than 47% of single mothers with children under 5 were living in poverty. The percentage of
Washington residents without health insurance rose to 14.2 percent last year. Household receiving food
stamps rose up to 13.3% last year. The number of people living in deep poverty - with incomes below
$12,000 year (for a family of four) now account for 45% of all people living in poverty.
And where as,
Recent cuts in safety-net services like TANF and Disability Lifeline, support for shelters, healthcare and
other essential needs continue at both the state and federal levels to "balance" budgets. This rise in deep
poverty will have significant, long-term negative consequences on Washington's children, families, and
communities, as well as our labor market and future economic potential.
And where as,
As history does repeat itself, Dr. Martin Luther King back in 1968 began a Poor People's Campaign to
address the issues of economic justice and housing for the poor, along with health care and jobs. He was
working on an "Economic Bill of Rights" much like Presidt Franklin Roosevelt proposed after World War II.
A Poor Peoples March on Washington was planned to draw attention to these issues. He was assassinated a
few weeks before the march was to take place. The march took place but the campaign died without his
charismatic leadership. Jobs, income, and housing were the main goals of the Poor People's Campaign.
Today, we find ourselves in the exact situation.
And where as,
We believe that all of our neighbors deserve a safe and affordable place to live, nutritious food to eat,
access to affordable health care, affordable education to succeed and thrive, and that everyone who wants
to work should have the tools, skills and opportunity to do so.
Therefore Be It Resolved,
that the Whatcom County Re-Entry Coalition will [organize, sponsor and promote] a "Poor Peoples March on
Whatcom" in honorcelebration to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his unfinished "Poor Peoples
Campaign" on Monday, January 16th, 2012.
"The Economic Bill of Rights"
Excerpt from President
Roosevelt's January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the
It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace
and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content,
no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people - whether it be
one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth\u2014is i-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain
inalienable political rights, among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury,
freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our nation has grown in size and stature, however, as our industrial economy expanded, these political
rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic
security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are
the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a
second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all -
regardless of station, race or creed.
Among these are:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and
his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from
unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and
- The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the
implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and
similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.
Source: The Public Papers & Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Samuel Rosenman, ed.),
VOL XIII (NY: Harper, 1950), 40-42 12 How. 152: "Necessitour men", says the Lord Chancellor,
in Vernon v Bethell, 2 Eden 113 (1762), "are not, truly speaking, free men; but, to answer a
present emergency, will submit to any terms that the crafty may impose on them."
High Risk Offender Housing Resolution 2007