Sit-in led by Rep. Cori Bush outside Congress. Liberation photo
As Congressional millionaires retreat to their second or third homes for August recess, millions of working households could be thrown out from the only home they have as the federal eviction moratorium expires. In response, Congresswoman Cori Bush of the 1st District of Missouri, who earlier in life had to raise her two children out of her car as a single mother, demanded her fellow representatives take a stand against the depravity of kicking millions of people into the streets in the middle of a pandemic.
Instituted when COVID-19 first hit, the moratorium was intended to protect workers across the United States from eviction at a point at which millions of Americans lost secure forms of income. More recently, the right wing majority on the Supreme Court declared that the CDC’s moratorium could not be extended further by executive action. The responsibility laid with Congress to extend the moratorium, as its July 31 expiration date was approaching rapidly.
“The elites and upper class are trying to really squeeze the poor out of society,” remarked local Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Dieter Lehmann Morales, who was present at the U.S. Capitol steps sit-in since its start. Leaders from within the Washington, D.C., area and across the country began congregating in support of Representative Bush, whose own party leadership failed to listen to the deep concerns held by her and the hundreds of people amassing at the Capitol to support her demonstration.
On Sunday evening, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, attended to support the event. Speaking in full-throated support of Representative Bush and those participating in the sit-in, the reverend and other faith leaders spoke and led songs and prayer. Barber warned, “If five to eleven million people get eviction notices, we’re talking about a crumbling of America.” Serendipitously, Barber and fellow Poor People’s Campaign co-chair Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis had planned a delegation of low-wage workers and faith leaders to a march the next day. The Campaign’s ongoing demands are an end to the filibuster, a passage of all provisions of the For the People Act, a full restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, and now, a re-instatement of the eviction moratorium.
Local members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation joined the crowd at the sit-in to call for emergency action to prevent evictions. The PSL across the country has also been building the movement to cancel rents and mortgages since the pandemic began, a demand that is even more urgent now. Growing solidarity with Congresswoman Cori Bush and other sit-in participants is putting a spotlight on the Biden administration and Democratic Party establishment’s shameful inaction.