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Poor People's Campaign Brings Moral Revival Tour To Kentucky

Tana Weingartner
Dashai Barber speaks as the Rev. William Barber sits beside her during a news conference Friday in Ft. Wright.

The Poor People's Campaign was in Northern Kentucky Friday kicking off a swing through the Bluegrass state. The group is advocating on issues such as workers' rights, healthcare, poverty, economic inequality and systemic racism.Sienna Thompson of Florence has lost family members to violence and is dealing with cancer for a second time but says she can't get the healthcare she needs.

"Me personally trying to get coverage, I get that because I'm married, 'you make too much money,' " she laments. "At one point in time, for example, my husband made $200 more than [the aid qualification level]. I said, 'but I need help. I take 30 medications a day and some of them are not covered.' "

Thompson attended a news conference/rally outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Ft. Wright office. Her daughter, Dashai Thompson, spoke to the gathering about her fears around gun violence.

"I was that teenager seeing my mom and my dad hug my brothers tight because it was a blessing to see their 18th birthdays," she said before fighting back tears thinking of her own son. "I am that mother who hugs her own son so tight, getting extra hugs and kisses at drop off at daycare because I don't know what tomorrow brings."

Thompson's cousin, 18-year-old Holmes High School graduate Ke'Ovion Markel Seay Tevis, was shot and killed Aug. 3 while near the annual Old Timers festival. His death remains under investigation.

The Poor People's Campaign is an outgrowth of the original group founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Campaign co-chair and Moral Movement leader, the Reverend William Barber, led a news conference Friday afternoon and a public meeting Friday evening in Covington.

He's speaking about the campaign's efforts to mobilize, organize, register and educate people ahead of a planned rally and march in Washington, D.C. next summer. Fellow co-chair, the Rev. Liz Theoharis, is also speaking.

Barber says the campaign requested an appointment with Sen. McConnell, which wasn't granted. Those in attendance signed a letter to be passed along to his office with a copy of the the campaign's Moral Agenda.

WVXU reached out to Sen. McConnell asking for comment. A spokesman replied, "thanks for reaching out, if the Senator comments we'll let you know."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.