Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Pastor Urges Aid for Poor

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Pastor Urges Aid for Poor

Article excerpt

A presidential election commission that will be headed in part by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach should be "decommissioned," leaders of a poor people's campaign told a packed house at a large downtown Topeka church Monday night.

"Voter suppression is real, voter fraud is a lie," the Rev. William Barber said, referring to Kobach's drive to end what he says is fraudulent voting in Kansas elections. In years of looking, Kobach's campaign has turned up few fraudulent voters in Kansas elections.

Kobach is a vice chairman of President Donald Trump's election integrity commission. Kobach also is a Republican candidate running in the Kansas race.

Since 2010, 22 states of have passed voter suppression laws, Barber said, which negatively impact blacks, Hispanics, and poor whites.

Voter suppression laws are desecrating the graves of those who added to voter rights, including civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and others, Barber said.

Voter fraud is not a problem, but voter suppression laws are a deep problem, said the Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chairwoman of the Poor People's Campaign.

The First United Methodist church sanctuary held approximately 750 people during the program on Monday, Yasmari Rodriguez said. She is a co-organizer of the Kansas People Agenda. The church is at 600 S.W. Topeka Blvd.

Barber came to Topeka as part of a nationwide call-to-action campaign about working for equality and justice and helping the poor.

Barber is helping lead the "New Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,"which is described as a "grassroots effort that draws upon the history, vision and unfinished work" of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Barber, 53, is pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in North Carolina.

The Monday event was sponsored by the Kansas Interfaith Action.

Kansas Interfaith Action officials describe their group as "a statewide, multi-faith issue-advocacy organization that 'puts faith into action' by educating, engaging and advocating on behalf of people of faith and the public regarding critical social, economic, and climate justice issues. …

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