Detroit — The Rev. Jesse Jackson declared a war on poverty Wednesday in a protest in front of the governor’s Detroit office alongside some 50 supporters, just days before the state is to cut off more than 40,000 poor Michiganians from cash assistance.
Jackson, a civil rights leader and president of the Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition, also spoke Wednesday at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church and to law students from the University of Detroit Mercy — all part of a tour of several U.S. cities during which he is urging the federal government to establish a White House commission on poverty.
“It’s going to be a colder winter in Detroit with less food, less transportation. … We will mobilize across the state to fight back,” Jackson said.
In recent weeks, Jackson visited parts of Ohio that, along with Detroit, have been particularly hard-hit by the recession, according to recently released U.S. census data.
Poverty does not affect only those in Michigan who stand to lose their cash assistance Saturday, Jackson said.
“When people can no longer pay their rent, it hurts the landlord; when people are not buying their medicine, it hurts the drugstores,” he said.
Jackson was joined by a handful of local clergy members who slammed Gov. Rick Snyder, who signed the four-year welfare benefits cap earlier this month.
Locally, about 12,600 families will be immediately affected, officials say.
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