A June day for dying

The rain of last night and the clouds of this morning cleared by the time we lined up on Broad Street in Trenton to head once again to the State House Annex for a Poor People’s Campaign moral witness.  Another of those rare June days of the James Russell Lowell poem my father loved to recite.

Today’s themes were good education for all, living wages, affordable housing, and incomes that support a decent standard of living.  As before, Brian Lee’s videos have given me the opportunity to hear more clearly the powerful testimonies of people struggling against job loss, wage theft, and overpriced unhealthy housing.

To emphasize that people are dying because of denial of these basic human needs, today’s moral action consisted of two die-ins.  One right in front of the State House doors with moral witnesses willing to be arrested.  And the other around the fountain in the middle of the plaza in front of the State House, with the whole crowd surrounding them in a circle joined by hands held.

The witnesses in front of the doors were arrested, as expected.  As they were led away, however, we noticed that the police had not used zip-ties or handcuffs to bind their hands.  After the four previous direct actions, it seems the police finally understand our commitment to non-violence.

Be that as it may, we marshals had some anxious moments as the 3:00 pm mark when our permit expired came and went.  Despite previous warnings of arrests if we went past the deadline, the Poor People’s Campaign Chorus went into yet more verses of “We Shall Overcome.”  We did.  We finished the song in full voice and got the crowd out of the plaza even more quickly than last week.

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