Joining 32+ other state campaigns in national day of action, movement leaders, poor people united at Ohio state house for mass assembly

Poor and low-wage people will join Ohio Poor People’s Campaign Tri-Chairs Clair Hochstetler and David Guran, and Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Bishop Tony Minor, Imam Horsed Noah, and Yvonka Hall, among many others, for a mass assembly at the Ohio statehouse to launch a 40-week effort to mobilize poor and low-wage voters in Ohio, and demand legislators take immediate action to end the crisis of death by poverty in the United States.

During Saturday’s mass assembly, a powerful fusion coalition, including impacted people, poor and low-wage voters, faith leaders, and social justice advocates, gathered to declare their votes are demands for living wages, voting rights and other policies to combat poverty and save lives. As part of the assembly, poor and low-wage voters shared testimony of how poverty has impacted their lives and why politicians need to champion the issues that matter most to poor and low-wealth individuals. 

"Last September, my husband Jeff... went in for a doctor's appointment on a Friday... We were sent home without being seen because we didn't have the $35 copay... We borrowed the money that weekend, and planned on seeing the doctor that Monday. Before leaving for his appointment, Jeff laid down for a nap... When I went to wake him up 90 minutes later, he was cold and stiff," said Joyce Kendrick, of Middletown, Ohio, a person impacted by healthcare policies and the rollback of the pandemic's social safety net expansions. "Jeff joined 799 others who died that day from poverty... I'm just one of 4 million+ poor and low wealth voters in Ohio... Together we can ensure that the days of poverty and low wages and the unnecessary cruelty and abandonment among abundance are numbered."


Poverty is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. In a country with so much wealth, poor and low-wealth voters are refusing to accept the myth of scarcity and instead are declaring that their votes are demands for living wages, voting rights and other policies to save lives, and save this democracy. At each mass assembly, poor and low-wage voters shared powerful testimony and put politicians on notice: if they want their votes in November, they must address the crisis of death by poverty.

Making up 43% of the country, there are over 135 million poor and low-income people in the United States. Making up 43% of the country, there are over 135 million poor and low-income people in the United States. In Ohio, there are over 4 million poor and low-wage people, making up over 39% of the state's electorate

“The Poor People’s Campaign is mobilizing today to wake up the sleeping giant of low-wage voters who have been ignored for far too long. Do not listen to those who say poor and low-wage voters are apathetic about politics or marginal to election outcomes,” said The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, national co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and co-chair of the 2024 mobilization. “Poor and low-wage voters have the power to change electoral outcomes up and down the ballot in November. We are putting politicians on notice: if you want our votes, you must legislate to end the crisis of death by poverty in America.” 

On February 5, national Poor People’s Campaign leaders launched a major effort to mobilize 15 million poor and low-wage voters in more than 30 states ahead of November’s election. On March 2,in a coordinated day of action, local leaders across participating states hosted simultaneous mass assemblies to amplify the voices of poor and low-wage voters, and detailed their upcoming local voter mobilization efforts, spanning states across the country including Ohio.

There are approximately 85 million poor and low-wage eligible voters in this country who represent at least 30% of the electorate. In so-called battleground states it’s close to and over 40%. 800 people die each day as a result of being poor and low-wealth. These deaths are completely preventable and unnecessary. High percentages of poor and low-wage voters don’t vote because politicians fail to enact policies or address the issues that affect their lives.

On Monday, March 4, advocates will reconvene at legislative offices in Columbus to deliver a comprehensive package to legislators on both sides of the political aisle documenting the conditions poor people are facing in their state and the bold actions that can be taken to address these crises. 

"Today we send a message to the legislators here at our statehouse responsible for unrelenting policy violence against the poor and low-wealth people that we won't be silent anymore,” said Tri-Chair Clair Hochstetler.