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Protesters demand sweeping overhaul of nation’s voting rights laws, policies to address poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy

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EDDIE CONWAY: Welcome to The Real News. I’m Eddie Conway, coming to you from Annapolis. For the second week in a row, we are covering the Poor People’s Campaign. 

REV. JANELLE BRUCE: People today are here and putting their bodies on the line to protest the violence and the systems of violence. That’s why they’re doing this. Because we are going to force these issues until we talk about systemic racism, until we talk about the systems that are leading to people being impoverished and people dying. Now, people are dying. 

TRACY GUY-DECKER: We assembled, we stood in a circle. And then the leaders started calling for the demands, loudly, and we were responding, “When do we want it? Now.” The same demands. And an officer from the State House came and let us know that the rules in the State House is that things need to be done quietly and decorously because there is business is being done, and he told us we needed to be quiet or leave. Actually, he told us we just had to leave. And so, those of us who were not risking arrest left, and those who did stayed and continued to make those demands. And we saw that they were taken away by the state police. 

I have a lot of privilege, as a white woman, as a cisgendered woman, I have relative affluence. And I’m realizing, in the past three years since Freddie Gray died, just how much privilege I have. And I’m trying to do what I can to use it to amplify others’ voices. So, the Poor People’s Campaign, this call that poverty is not an economic issue, it’s a moral issue, that gets to my heart. And so, if I can lend my privilege to that voice, then I want to stand up and do so. 

JARVELL ROSS: Well, if anyone is out there in a public that’s my age, it’s a good thing to stand up for what you believe in. And bring your friends. This is all a family environment. And hopefully, if we keep on coming out here, hopefully we can get it done, and they’ll finally realize that we need our rights. 

ALONZO SMITH: We can end all the poverty in the world if we could find the power of love. And we can start in this country by finding the power of love and by really realizing that all the people who don’t have enough to eat, don’t have enough to live, are our brothers and sisters. 

EDDIE CONWAY: So, how do you find this power love with people like Trump and Pence and Tillerson, and people that don’t care about the environment, or other people? How do you find this love in their heart, to change things, which they are trying to reverse? 

ALONZO SMITH: It’s the power of people all over this country, of loving each other, who can come together. And so, it’s going to mean that what Trump and Pence and Tillerson, and all of these other people do, is not going to mean so much if there are millions of people who acting in the power of love. That’s what the power of love means. 

SINGERS: Ain’t gonna let systemic racism turn me around, turn me around, turn me around. Ain’t gonna let systemic racism turn me around. Gonna keep on walking, keep on talking, marching up to freedom land. 

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Executive Producer
Eddie Conway is an Executive Producer of The Real News Network. He is the host of the TRNN show Rattling the Bars. He is Chairman of the Board of Ida B's Restaurant, and the author of two books: Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther and The Greatest Threat: The Black Panther Party and COINTELPRO. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Eddie Conway is an internationally known political prisoner for over 43 years, a long time prisoners' rights organizer in Maryland, the co-founder of the Friend of a Friend mentoring program, and the President of Tubman House Inc. of Baltimore. He is a national and international speaker and has several degrees.