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Photo: James L. Amos/Corbis via Getty Images

The largest civil disobedience campaign of the 21st century is happening now in 38 states across the nation.

What's new: 50 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, faith leaders are reviving his Poor People's Campaign (PPC). They have held protests every Monday for the past five weeks to spark a national "moral revival." Today marks the beginning of the last week of the 40 Days of Action campaign, which will culminate in a march on Washington on June 23rd.

How it happened: Organizers started the project three years ago and collected testimonials from struggling Americans to shape their demands. They came out of the project with six general themes, ranging from raising teacher salaries to voter disenfranchisement. Protestors have presented the demands at their state capitols.

Why it matters: According to the AP, 13% of Americans lived in poverty in 1968. Despite consistent economic development, wealth inequality and cost of living have grown and the poverty rate is back at 13%.

  • In an interview with Axios, PPC co-chair Rev. Liz Theoharis argued that politicians have forgotten the issues of America's poor.
In the 25-26 debates before the 2016 election... not one focused on the issues facing poor people.
— Rev. Liz Theoharis

Drawing attention: According to Theoharis, the PPC has trended nationally on Twitter on every one of the last five days of action, and protestors have gotten creative in expressing their demands — with many seeking arrest.

  • Nearly 100 protestors and faith leaders were arrested in front of the Supreme Court last week for blocking the street. Nine faith leaders were held overnight in jail.
  • On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) called for a hearing on Capitol Hill to hear from protestors. Three other senators and four other representatives attended.
  • On June 4, protestors in Alabama acknowledged the birthday of Jefferson Davis by covering up a statue with a banner and were promptly arrested. On the same day, demonstrators in California covered a statue of Christopher Columbus inside the state capitol with a multi-colored parachute.

What's next: After the march on Washington, the campaign plans to train their attention on voter registration and for each state to continue to carry their demands forward. Sen. Warren urged that "[w]e are going to make change from this," at her congressional hearing, but concrete results remain to be seen.

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.

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