Saturday, people gathered at Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, to honor the 50th anniversary of the Charleston Hospital Workers Strike and to talk poverty alleviation and social justice.
This year marks 50 years since the 1969 hospital strike, where 400 black hospital workers protested at the Medical College Hospital, now Medical University of South Carolina, and the Charleston County Hospital, no longer in existence, for better wages and workplace equality. The organizers of today’s event, the Poor Peoples Campaign, say that poverty is still an issue in the Lowcountry and the need for a better living wage is still worth fighting for.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign says, “Right here in South Carolina, today, 44 percent of the people are poor and low-income.”
As two of the strikers, Louise Brown and Vera Smalls Singleton, were honored for their protest that transformed Charleston & the nation, the crowd was encouraged to carry on their work by brainstorming ways to increase wages, make housing more affordable, health care accessible, and bring awareness to the other issues facing the poor.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, National Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign says, “Half of the U.S. population including millions here in South Carolina are poor, experiencing poverty, or one emergency, one health care crisis, one hurricane, one tornado away from deep and desperate poverty.”
The Poor People’s Campaign is a nationwide movement for poverty alleviation and social justice. The National Co-Chairs for the campaign say that today marks the launch of the Poor Peoples Campaign in Charleston.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis says, “Now across the country in 42 states, there are coordinating committees made up of local people, ordinary heroes and heroines, who are organizing and saying these issues don’t need to be this way…we could live in society of justice, and we are going to organize to make it so.”
The organizers of the Poor People’s Campaign in Charleston there will be more meetings in the Lowcountry to strategize an end to poverty. For more information, visit: poorpeoplescampaign.org