Advocates in cars snaked through Annapolis on Monday to highlight the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on people living in poverty – and to demand action from government officials.
The car caravan was organized by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a national coalition to address poverty and systemic racism. Advocates’ cars were covered with signs mourning the more than 260,000 Americans who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19, and calling for more relief from state and federal officials.
The pandemic has exacerbated the long-existing issues of poverty and systemic racism in the United States, said Rabbi Alana Suskin, one of the Maryland state chairs for the Poor People’s Campaign.
She said she hopes Monday’s car caravan, which was just one of many held Monday across the country by the coalition, will highlight the mounting problems poor people face across the country. Millions of Americans reportedly fell into poverty as a result of the shutdowns and layoffs brought on by the pandemic.
“Millions of people are poor in this country, and millions more are just one bad illness away from it,” Suskin said.
Suskin said federal relief and stimulus checks were helpful to Americans living in poverty, but that money has long since dried up and now many are faced with mounting bills they can’t pay.
“We need to be talking right now about a stimulus package to help people survive,” Suskin said.
Maryland state officials have attempted to lessen the financial blow brought on by the coronavirus pandemic by offering eviction prevention funding and grants for small businesses, but have likewise warned that their efforts may fall flat without additional assistance from the federal government.