Support the Resolution to End Poverty in Maryland

Maryland General Assembly

Poverty destroys lives, shatters dreams, devastates and traumatizes communities. But in Maryland, the richest state in the Union, poverty is on the rise. Everybody has the right to live and thrive. Add your name to the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign petition calling on the Maryland General Assembly to enact a Resolution to End Poverty in our state.

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To: Maryland General Assembly
From: [Your Name]

Maryland is the richest state in the country. Yet over 39% or 2.3 million people in Maryland are poor or low-income or just one emergency away from economic ruin.

We are calling for an end of the system that seeks to blame the poor, and instead, call on the Maryland General Assembly to address the systems that have impoverished over 2.3 million Marylanders.

We are calling on the Maryland General Assembly to pass a Resolution to End Poverty.

How does poverty affect Marylanders?
How do we know about the devastating effects of poverty throughout Maryland? Recent testimony from many low-wealth communities tells a story of injustice. Listen to the voices of poor, elderly, and low-wealth people who spoke at the December 2021 Maryland Poor People's Campaign Field Hearing.

The impacted testifiers said clearly that drips and drabs of public assistance will NOT address the injustices and suffering that they face.

One powerful speaker from Western Maryland, Aileen Hepler, described a series of events that pushed her family over the poverty cliff. Her story began with a job loss, housing and food insecurity, and a broken car that left her without transportation. What did Aileen need most? A coordinated package of assistance for her family.

Mary Ward, an elderly citizen who lives in Section 8 housing, revealed the toxic and unstable public units she was forced to live in. Even though Mary is confined to a wheelchair, the Public Housing Authority assigned her to units only accessible by an elevator that often didn’t work. Mary had to pull herself up the stairs. What does Mary need like many other Marylanders? Stable, safe, healthy, secure housing and equally stable nutritious food.

Linnell Fall, whose children have all gone to college, was doing well until she lost her job due to a serious case of COVID-19 when no one was talking about it. As a result, she lost her healthcare, her car, and could not pay her rent. It could happen to any of us, Linnell reminded the listeners. She’s an activist who, like Mary, demands secure housing for all. What does Linnell need, like other Marylanders? She needs immediate assistance to address her cascading issues.

Lydell Hills shared how Black and Brown youth have been falling victim to the school-to-prison pipeline. It is a struggle for young adults to achieve independence and stability. Young adults do not know how to navigate resources and services to access education, jobs, and other necessities. What would improve services for youth and young people? Fostering partnerships, timely funding for existing youth and community programs, and responsive government agencies that listen to people’s lived experiences.

Mike Hughes testified that reforming the justice system must happen now. Mike called out weaknesses in our justice system in securing protections for the disabled community which is sometimes cut off from employment and social benefits. He described in detail how autistic Marylanders are negatively impacted.

What do these vulnerable groups need? Justice that protects them from police interrogation, unjust sentencing, and that upholds the rights of disabled Marylanders.

Leia and Pauline testified to the hurdles recent immigrants face. Leia, an indigenous South American woman who was trafficked to the U.S., described how she struggled to survive in Maryland shelters. Pauline told about the fear undocumented residents feel because they cannot access benefits or secure counsel for immigration court.

Like the testifiers, Marylanders are speaking out to end poverty. Join with our voices calling out against decades of unequal treatment, neglect, and unfair spending policies that have trapped many of us in poverty. This petition demands concrete action from our elected officials, candidates, and all Marylanders.

What is the Resolution to End Poverty?
The Resolution to End Poverty outlines the responsibility that the Maryland General Assembly has to ensure the welfare of all citizens and address poverty.

Poverty results from interconnected injustices. Ending poverty means ensuring that everyone has secure housing, fair wages, and transportation. It means ending systemic racism and reforming the criminal justice system. It means ensuring that everyone has access to quality education and health care. It means ensuring the right to food, clean water, and a healthy environment.

Poverty is an immoral policy choice. The Maryland state budget is a moral document. The Resolution to End Poverty asserts that the Maryland General Assembly must provide safe and secure lives for all residents by addressing the interconnected injustices that cause and perpetuate poverty.

Take Action!
Sign this petition and join the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign in demanding the Maryland General Assembly to adopt the Resolution to End Poverty in Maryland.