(Cleveland) - A rally was held today at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry on Superior Avenue, to mark the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty.

The rally was co-sponsored United Clevelanders Against Poverty, Organize! Ohio, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, and Cleveland Jobs With Justice.

Larry Bresler of Organize Ohio blames the Reagan Administration with ending the War on Poverty and of dismantling programs that were helping the poor. He's calling on the President and Congress to renew the fight to realize Johnson's goal of lifting most Americans out of poverty.

Bresler says unlike 50 years ago, most of today's poor actually have jobs, but do not earn enought money to support themselves and their families. He would like to see the minimum wage raised, food stamp aid increased, and more funding for education.

Bishop Tony Minor of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry says he would like to see more help for small businesses and improvements to public education as a way to give poor people better access to job opportunities.

Cleveland economist George Zeller blames federal budget cuts for prolonging the recession. He claims even grade school children know that public spending should be increase when the economy is sagging.

Following President Johnson’s 1964 State of the Union address declaring a War on Poverty, many programs were created, among which included Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, Fair Housing Act, Community Action Program, Legal Aid, and made Food Stamps a permanent program.

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