Missourians to End Poverty Coalition Marches on the Capitol
Over 200 members of the Missourians to End Poverty coalition gathered in Jefferson City this morning to march on the State Capitol. The group, which is comprised of various nonprofits, businesses, government agencies and individuals, want community members to know that 888,570 people in Missouri are officially in poverty and the worst part is about a third of those are children, who have no say about their situation.
With the economy barely making headway against the unemployment rate and wages that are losing ground for the middle class, Missourians to End Poverty rallied to draw attention to the 5 pillars of poverty that are the key issues that keep people from reaching stability. Those issues are food, education, healthcare, housing & energy, and family & economic security.
Following the march, participants gathered on the first floor to hear speaker, Jamia Cole, talk about her firsthand experiences with poverty and the uphill climb involved in reaching economic stability for her family. When Jamia first went looking for help, she was pregnant, unemployed and depressed. Then she became involved with a local community action agency initiative called “Circles of Support”. Thanks to the coaching and motivational help from her mentors, Jamia and her husband are now both fully employed and getting ready to buy a house in their community.
The second speaker for the Missourians to End Poverty Advocacy Day was Representative Jill Schupp, representing the Missouri House Democrats. After coming off the House floor just to participate in the rally, Representative Schupp talked about priorities including healthcare, education, job creation and poverty.
The event concluded with an achievement award presented to Representative Jeanette Mott Oxford in recognition of her tireless efforts to better the lives of low income and disadvantaged Missourians across the state. Presented by retired pastor John Bennett, Representative Oxford spoke eloquently on the subject of social equality and the fact that in the past years, our state has failed to see that our actions have harmful consequences for disadvantaged and impoverished people that are unacceptable if we intend to prosper in the long term.
With 200 members of the Missourians to End Poverty ready to go out and meet their legislators, we were all reminded of our purpose as one of Representative Jill Schupp’s last statements was brought to mind, “What comes first is the people.” Truly, we are hoping that today’s legislative event will remind everyone that the poor and disadvantaged are valuable people too and that we must impact poverty if we want thriving and sustainable communities across Missouri.
Photo Credits: Lloyd Grotjen at Full Spectrum Photo & Audio