Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) To Host Convention in Atlanta Later This Month Focusing Unapologetically on Poor People and Poverty

SCLC President Charles Steele, Jr. Says the Organization’s Poor People’s Campaign Is About Eliminating Poverty

Style Magazine Newswire | 7/9/2019, 3:04 p.m.

SCLC President Charles Steele, Jr. Says the Organization’s Poor People’s Campaign Is About Eliminating Poverty

ATLANTA - In America, the wealthiest nation on earth, it appears very few people are comfortable fighting for poor people and talking about poverty, says Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization co-founded and first led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the recent presidential debates, featuring high-powered Democratic Party candidates seeking the nomination to become the next chief executive of the United States, this reality became more evident. Instead of talking about poor people and poverty, Dr. Steele says most of the candidates used code words like income inequality, Medicare for all, free college tuition and programs for working families.

Most politicians and people in power, he argues, are reluctant to speak up for the poor even though new reports show that Wall Street is booming, more Americans are employed and the rich are getting richer. Meanwhile, the number of poor Americans is also getting larger. Some 45 million residents of the U.S are classified as poor, but some scholars and experts believe that number can be 16 million higher because the census is not taking into account the impact unexpected job loss, poor health and lack of health insurance are having on working-class families.

But the issues facing poor people and the focus on poverty, Dr. Steele promises, will be front and center during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s 61st Annual Convention, entitled “Maintaining the Global Village: Housing, Health, and Our Common Humanity.” The event, which galvanizes delegates and supporters from around the country and some foreign lands, will be held from July 18th- July 20th, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, 265 Peachtree St., NE.

“At our conference, we will tackle the issues facing poor people, and we do this every year,” says Dr. Steele, who has led this iconic civil rights organization for more than a decade. “We just don’t wait until conference time to talk about poverty. But, during our conference, we convey this information in a way that the public truly understands the horrific realities of life for more than 40 million people in America. Many people do not know that 42 percent of Americans who have a checking account cannot write a $250 check for an emergency. They do not know that 50 percent of bank account holders cannot write a check for $500.”

The sad reality about poverty in America, Dr. Steele laments, is that little has changed since Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned the Poor People’s Campaign 51 years ago to eradicate poverty. Dr. King, he says, was inspired to launch the campaign after being brought to tears from witnessing first-hand the extreme poverty in the Mississippi Delta and elsewhere. Unfortunately, Dr. King was unable to lead the campaign, because he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, two weeks before it was officially launched. Regrettably, for America, the Mississippi Delta is still the poorest area of America today.