ACTIONS: Monday, June 8th and Saturday June 20th, 2020
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign.
Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. From Alaska to Arkansas, the Bronx to the border, people join to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. As a nation we are at a critical juncture — we need a movement that will shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections at every level of government, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people.
During the summer of 2018, from Mother’s Day to the Summer Solstice, poor people and moral witnesses in 40 states committed themselves to a season of direct action to launch the Campaign. The most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century United States had begun—a new organism of state-based movements. Now, in over 40 states, the groundwork for a mass poor people’s movement emerges.
The 21st century Poor People’s Campaign builds unity across race, issues, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, age, faith and geography that can break through the politics that divide us. They believe that power lies in unity and poor people have the solutions when they come together as one. They believe that they will begin to break through the noise of racism, poverty, militarism and ecological devastation to demonstrate that another America is possible. “Not everything that is faced can be changed,” James Baldwin reminds us, “but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” The new Poor People’s Campaign reminds us that the change that we need to address poverty lies within our unity.
In an interview with Janie Lynch from the Poor People’s Campaign of Long Island, Janie Lynch explains the “natural” connection between the PPC and the Black Lives Matter movement. Besides being in connection philosophically, she explains, their views overlap on the mutual goals of working against racism, poverty and militarism, just as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr outlined in the 1960s. From the ‘umbrella’ of these three principles for reform spring environmental care and the false narrative of religious nationalism as are currently witnessed across the country, she stresses.
Much of the action in ongoing peaceful protests since May 30th keeps Janie hopeful. “There is a spirit of being united,” she says. In fact, on Monday, June 8th, two weeks after George Floyd’s death, a National Day of Fasting and Focus will take place at 5:00pm. We are asking people to stop where you are for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in silence in honor of the time George Floyd had the literal knee of the state on his neck. Wherever you are, at home, at work or in the streets, we are calling for people of conscience to stop wherever you are to join us for a live-streamed moment of silence, litany and a message of support for the uprisings across the country and a call for organizing a movement in this moment from Bishop William J. Barber, II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. You can tune in at fb.com/anewppc.
Also important is the Poor People’s Campaign event on Saturday, June 20th 2020, when people of conscience will rise together online as a powerful moral movement, lift the voices and faces of poverty amid the pandemic. All people of good conscience must fight for the society so desperately needed for all. Register online at: https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/june2020/
For more information on this event:
The Poor People’s Campaign. (2018). Retrieved June 08, 2020, from https://www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/news/the-poor-peoples-campaign