July 24, 2020


For Immediate Release 7/24/20

Rev. Bruce Wright, 727-278-1547, Cheri Honkala 215-8694753


JACKSONVILLE: Refuge Ministries, The Poor People’s Army, and Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) is celebrating Trump’s retreat in cancelling the RNC in Jacksonville, FL. In Trump’s typical inflammatory and racist language, the president cited the reason for cancelling the convention as keeping “people safe, whether it’s from the China virus or the radical left mob.” The Poor People’s Army and PPEHRC are a nonviolent, multiracial movement led by poor people themselves. They believe that, in addition to the serious Covid-19 threat, it was their movement that Trump had in mind when cancelling the RNC because of a “radical left mob.” 

Every year since 2000, PPEHRC has held the largest demonstrations on opening days of the RNC and DNC, and they were the first group to apply for a permit and receive a pending reservation for the A. Philip Randolph Heritage Park, the closest park with a stage to the RNC location at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. 

PPEHRC and Poor People’s Army were mobilizing members and troops to Charlotte, NC and working with a local coalition when Trump announced that the RNC would be moved to Jacksonville, FL. PPEHRC and Poor People’s Army moved organizing to Jacksonville and received a response from City that the permit was reserved. But before the permit was finally approved, the City of Jacksonville Parks Reservation sent an email to Rev. Bruce Wright, head of Refuge Ministries and PPEHRC South, stating that the reservation he had made on July 6, 2020, had been “cancelled,” without any reason or explanation of how to appeal.

Following the permit cancellation, Trump announced that some of the RNC would be held outside with a smaller crowds, and then a larger crowd on the day he was to accept the nomination. The legal counsel of Rev. Bruce Wright and Refuge Ministries, sent a letter on July 22 to the City of Jacksonville to request clarification on the process to apply for a permit for a political march, since there was no information on their website besides the Special Use Permits application and the correspondence received by Rev. Wright. The lawyers also stated that if there was not an appropriate response, they would take legal action to defend Refuge Ministries / PPEHRC / Poor People’s Army’s 1st Amendment right to protest. 

The very next day on July 23, after lawyers submitted the demand letter on behalf of Rev. Bruce Wright and the Poor People’s Army, the City of Jacksonville announced the creation of protest zones and permissible march routes. Then suddenly on the night of July 23, Trump announced the RNC was cancelled.

The Poor People’s Army acknowledges these key groups for their support in these efforts: Leonard Peltier International Defense Committee, FL Indigenous Rights & Environmental Equality (FIREE), and Green Party of FL.

“We consider this a victory. We, the poor and homeless people and working people who always march on the RNC, were a part of the reason he cancelled the in-person meeting,” said Rev. Bruce Wright. “It’s ridiculous and dangerous that he would hold a huge meeting inside with the pandemic, but we were prepared to nonviolently protest and resist in a safe and socially-distanced way.”

Refuge Ministries, PPEHRC, and Poor People’s Army are planning assemblies and demonstrations in Philadelphia at Biden’s headquarters to protest the DNC on August 16 & 17.

“We have held these protests and erected Tent Cities of the homeless in cities where the RNC and DNC take place, in the tradition of the Hoovervilles of the 1930s,” said Cheri Honkala, National Coordinator of PPEHRC. “We poor and homeless people also claim victory today against Trump because we know that homeless people are always violently swept away from the streets during large ruling class events like the presidential conventions. But we won’t have total victory until the fascist Trump isn’t in any power whatsoever. Let’s all fight for lives over luxury, join us in Philadelphia on Aug 16 & 17.”

PPEHRC and the Poor People’s Army encourage participants to follow CDC guidelines with masks and social distancing at their events. For more information and to get involved, go to or

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