Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Martha Waggoner | mwaggoner@breachrepairers.org | 919-295-0802
Contact: Noam Sandweiss-Back | noam@poorpeoplescampaign.org 

Press Release

Poor & Low-income People to Lift Up Their Voices at Digital Assembly on June 20th

Historic coalition unites to challenge poverty & revive democracy amidst recession, pandemic & protests.
WASHINGTON -

Poor and low-income people of every race, creed, color and sexuality from more than 40 states will demand change as they share stories of struggling through poverty and protests for racial justice at a historic digital assembly and march sponsored by The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Hundreds of mobilizing partners — including 14 national unions, 16 national religious denominations and dozens civil rights organizations — will join the campaign for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington.

The assembly and march will be aired at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, June 20, and at 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 21. It can be viewed at June2020.org, and MSNBC will livestream the entire event, as will other local and national media.

“When we began organizing the poor people’s assembly and march two years ago, we knew 140 million people — 43% of the nation  were poor or low-income and that 700 people died each day — or 250,000 a year — from poverty,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“We knew racist voter suppression was blocking voters from casting their ballot and blocking  progressive policy decisions. We knew over 80 million people were uninsured or underinsured and millions were homeless and without clean water. And we knew that we had a war economy with a gross and unnecessary budget. We knew all of these realities are morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent and economically insane, undermining our national health. And then a pandemic hit and exposed the wounds of racism and poverty, and a lynching by police of a black man on camera poured salt in the wound, which makes our call for a moral fusion coalition of all people to address five interlocking injustices even the more relevant,” said Rev. Barber, a bishop and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. 

Former Vice President Al Gore and other young climate activists will introduce those testifying about the effect of ecological devastation on their lives.  

Actors and activists such as Erika Alexander, Danny Glover, David Oyelowo, Jane Fonda, Wanda Sykes and Debra Messing will introduce testifiers and invite Americans and people around the world to tune in.

“The numbers of people suffering in this the richest nation in the world is already increasing and deepening as the effects of the pandemic, recession and racist and anti-poor policies continue to hurt poor and low-income people the hardest,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. “On June 20th, poor and impacted people will come together to tell the nation what it means to not have enough food to eat, to wonder how to keep a roof over your family’s head, and to have to choose between risking your life by going to work or staying at home and not getting paid. We will share the bold and visionary demands people are putting forth that can solve these grave injustices and the powerful and creative resistance of people organizing across the country. History shows that when those most impacted by injustice come together in a powerful movement, that this country can indeed change for the better. Those whose backs are against the wall are pushing this whole nation towards justice today.”

The campaign notes that the day’s focus will be on poor and low-income people who demand that their voices be heard. These people from 43 states — white farmers and coal miners standing with black women Latino meat packers, First Nation Apaches and Asian people — will tell the pain of their stories and demand a specific policy, moral budget and political agenda. 

That agenda includes a demand that the nation address the five interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism and a distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. 

Among the impacted people who will speak are service workers from the Midwest who have worked through the pandemic without PPE; families hurt by police brutality; a coal miner from Appalachia; mothers who have lost children due to lack of health care, residents of Cancer Alley in Louisiana, and an Apache elder who is petitioning the federal government to stop a corporation from destroying a sacred site in Arizona. 

The assembly and march are being held in the wake of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.  

His cry of “I can’t breathe” echoed that of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. It followed those of Breonna Taylor, who was shot eight times by officers who invaded her apartment in Kentucky with a battering ram, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by two white joggers who weren’t charged until a video emerged. 

The campaign’s leaders decided at the end of March to hold a digital assembly and march because of the pandemic rather than gathering in person in Washington, D.C. Amidst protests that are happening in every state, this digital mass assembly presents an opportunity for all Americans to join together in a united call for justice from wherever they are.

A virtual pressroom will be set up for reporter’s questions on June 20th. Media can register for it here.

###

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral  Revival, is building a generationally transformative digital gathering called the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, on June 20, 2020. At that assembly, we will demand that both major political parties address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism by implementing our Moral Agenda.

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·


Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·


Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez: Maloney Should Quit DCCC Post If He Runs Against Mondaire Jones

"It's completely inappropriate" for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney to be in charge of the House Democrats' campaign arm "if he's going to challenge another member," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo