Songs were sung and speeches were given in front of Bowling Green’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church as the Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign celebrated its third anniversary Monday night.
More recently known for its protests, the organization elected for a more joyous tone at the rally attended by nearly 50 people.
Among those in attendance were state Rep. Patti Minter, D-Bowling Green, Bowling Green City Commissioner Carlos Bailey and musician Charles Neblett, a founding member of the Freedom Singers.
The rally was one of the first large public events the campaign has held since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A section of Graham Drive in front of the church was blocked off by the Bowling Green Police Department so the celebration could be held on the street and meet public health guidelines.
“This is amazing,” KPPC Chair Joyce Atkins said. “I feel like we have had some amazing speakers here today.”
Amid the celebration, the group took the opportunity to advocate policies it says would help achieve social, economic and racial justice.
Atkins said one goal of the rally was to raise awareness that becoming more politically active helps foster change.
Multiple speakers at the event pushed for the federal minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour to combat the issue of homelessness.
Atkins said she supports raising the minimum wage to $15 but said $22 an hour would be more appropriate for low-income families.
At $22 an hour, the minimum wage would be $45,670 per year for a full-time worker.
“It’s a huge problem,” Atkins said of the current minimum wage. “It’s something that needs to be solved locally, and it would be really close to getting solved if we got together to work on it.”