In Washington, D.C. and more than two dozen states across the country on Monday, supporters of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival gathered to kick off 40 days of "moral action" to highlight "the human impact of policies which promote systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental devastation."
Led by co-chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis—and inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s original Poor People's Campaign in the late 1960s—the campaign, which was announced last year, livestreamed a press conference from D.C. and delivered to lawmakers a letter outlining their demands for policy changes.
Barber, in a series of tweets, denounced rampant voter supression, systemic poverty, a lack of living wages, ecological devastation, and "Christian nationalism," emphasizing an urgent need for sweeping changes in public policy on a national scale.
Today we serve notice that there must be a change in our moral narrative & public policy. #PoorPeoplesCampaign
— Rev. Dr. Barber (@RevDrBarber) February 5, 2018
"We are tired of a dog-eat-dog system of life," declared Rev. Saeed Richardson, director of policy for the Chicago Renewal Society.
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"We are witnessing an assault on the poor, on immigrants, on black and brown people, and on the Earth," said Rev. Joan Javier-Duval in Vermont, "and we can't let it happen any longer."
"This is about fighting injustice anywhere so that we don't let ourselves lose the vision of what America can be," noted Diana Martinez of the pro-immigrant Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance. "Because when racism and nativism become the rule of law it hurts all of us."
Participants from events across the U.S. shared on social media messages, photos, and videos depicting the goals of the #PoorPeoplesCampaign:
The #PoorPeoplesCampaign aims to build a broad and deep national moral movement – rooted in the leadership of poor people and reflecting the great moral teachings – to unite our country from the bottom up.
— RepairersOfTheBreach (@BRepairers) February 5, 2018
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) February 5, 2018