June 18, 2018
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April 1, 2009

Antoinette Harrell
985-229-8001 or 504-858-4658


President of Southern Christian Leadership Conference Dr. Byron Clay and Co-Founder of Gathering of Hearts, Antoinette Harrell on a Poverty Tour in Anquilla, Ms. Photo credits: Walter C. Black, Sr.

Kentwood, LA (BlackNews.com) - Within weeks of the Poverty Awareness Tour that took place in Lambert, MS on February 20-22, 2009; founders of Gathering of Hearts, Antoinette Harrell and Ines Soto-Palmarin, have organized another poverty tour with Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), President Dr. Byron Clay, and a delegation from Atlanta.

The tour held in February was well attended by students from Kentwood High School, Southeastern University Louisiana, and volunteers from Boston, MA. Dr. Ron Walters, Director of the African American Leadership Institute and Professor Rebecca Hensley of Southeastern University Louisiana. Several volunteers from New Orleans, LA collected clothing, shoes, and other goods to distribute during the tour. Volunteers from Boston, MA drove thousands of miles to contribute donations collected in Boston, MA, Jersey City, NJ and Philadelphia, PA to the people in the Mississippi Delta.

This week's Poverty Awareness Tour was designed to give SCLC's President Dr. Byron Clay and members of the SCLC, an insight on the existing issues of poverty in Mississippi. It is the first tour of its kind for Dr. Byron Clay and members of the SCLC.

Dr. Bryon Clay was astonished to find that many of the homes toured did not have running water and gas for cooking. Many of the homes they toured had holes in the floors and huge holes in the roof. A couple living in a deteriorating trailer in Anquilla, MS had no refrigerator. A box fan was hanging from the ceiling to keep them cool. Dr. Byron Clay pledged $10,000 to help build a home for a family in Lambert, MS.

The Poor People's Campaign March will take place June 19-21. On Friday, June 19, 2009, Gathering of Hearts and SCLC will hold a public hearing in the town of Lambert, MS to address human right issues, such as affordable housing, health care, education, jobs and many other important issues. The Poor People Campaign March will take place Saturday: June 20th in Jackson, Mississippi. People from all over the United States are expected to attend this much needed hearing, as well as participate in the Poor People's Campaign March. We are inviting non-profit organizations, scholars, community leaders, church leaders and others to attend this public hearing.

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) organized the Poor People's Campaign to address issues of economic justice. The march originated in Marks, Mississippi. From there, Dr. King crisscrossed the country to assemble "a multiracial army of the poor" that would descend on Washington engaging, if need be, in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol-until Congress enacted a poor people's bill of rights. Dr. King's economic bill of rights called for massive government jobs programs to rebuild America's cities. He saw a crying need to confront a Congress that had demonstrated its "hostility to the poor" appropriating "military fund and alacrity and generosity", but providing "poverty fund with miserliness."

The 1968 Poor People's Campaign did not focus on just poor black people but addressed all poor people of every minority. Poor Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, American Indians and poor whites were included in the campaign. King labeled the Poor People's Campaign the "second phases" of the civil rights struggle.

We must do more to help those in need. "While many people live in the comfort of their own homes and lives, millions of people right here in the United States does not have enough food to eat. Not to mention living in homes with holes in the floors and walls big enough for any small animal to crawl in said," Antoinette Harrell.

"It is essential that we provide those who are in need with resources for standard living. Clean water, affordable housing, health care, 21st century education, jobs, recreation programs for the youth and public transportation, and it all begins with awareness of the problems that many people face on a daily basis," said Harrell. Some animals in this country live better than people. There are dog parks, hospitals for animals, animal daycare centers, and animal hotels. In some towns in Mississippi, there is not one library for children, not one health clinic, dentist office are playground for children.

For more information concerning the Poor People's Campaign March please contact Gathering of Hearts founders Antoinette Harrell and Ines Soto-Palmarin at (985) 229-8001, or Southern Christian Leadership Conference at (404)-522-1420.

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