On Earth Peace endorses the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and its initiative to reignite the efforts to build the Beloved Community envisioned by the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the black-led freedom, civil rights and human rights movement. When Dr. King called for this movement just over 50 years ago, in December of 1967, he used it as an opportunity to bring together poor people from across the country for a March on Washington demanding better jobs, homes, and education. King called for economic reform and nationwide boycotts and protests to gain support and attention. This continued even after his assassination and was not just for poor people of color, but for all poor people. In his Where do we go from here sermon, King stated, “We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised...‘Who owns the oil?’...‘Who owns the iron ore?’...‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that’s two-thirds water?’ These are words that must be said”.
Fifty years later, the Poor People’s campaign has been revived with the coordination of the Rev. Dr. William Barber II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis. They are calling for a moral revival in our country, echoing Dr. King’s own call for revolution of values in society from top to bottom. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has articulated a set of fundamental principles, visible here. The Campaign has affirmed a Covenant of Nonviolence to guide the character of all campaign communications, activities, and public events, read here.
Today, there are at least 40 states with groups campaigning. The Rev. Dr. Barber states, “Nothing is going to change until we put a face on it, until we drive the public discourse, until we restart the moral narrative”. This spring has seen a series of national and state level launch events, and they have been staging demonstrations and speaking out against the recent tax bill that would benefit the rich and corporate, leading to arrests for their nonviolent protests. It is a moral evil to do nothing while major public launch is taking place in state capitals and in Washington, DC on Monday, May 14. On Earth Peace’s Matt Guynn is co-chair for Nonviolent Moral Fusion direct action training in the state of Oregon. He shares, “The Poor People’s Campaign is a call for moral revival - for those of us in church communities to re-examine what we’re willing to do for justice, as an expression of our faith commitment. This is an opportunity for so many of us in faith communities and people of good will to put our values into action. Christians know that Jesus supported the power of those on the margins of society. There is another way, and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival calling us to move in that direction, now and in our times, with concerted collective action.”
The Poor People’s Campaign will launch with “40 Days of Moral Action,” May 14-June 23, primarily focused in state capitols and Washington, DC. Each week has a different theme to call people to action. Your congregation can participate in your own state capitol, or use study guides and weekly worship resources from the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Contact us for links and resources!
- Week One (May 13-19) - Somebody’s Hurting Our People: Child Poverty, Women, and People with Disabilities
- Week Two (May 20-26) – Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty: Voting Rights and Immigration
- Week Three (May 27-June 2) - The War Economy, Veterans, Education and Our National Priorities
- Week Four (June 3-9) - Ecological Devastation and Health
- Week Five (June 10-16) – Everybody’s Got the Right to Live: Jobs, Income and Housing
- Week Six (June 17-22) – A New and Unsettling Force
- June 23rd – Mass rally in Washington, D.C. and Global Day of Solidarity
Dr. King stated in relation to the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, “I choose to identify with the underprivileged. I choose to identify with the poor. I choose to give my life for the hungry. I choose to give my life for those who have been left out…This is the way I’m going." We now call on you to do the same. We ask you to take the pledge and give your life for those who have been displaced or undervalued by our society, and to struggle alongside them to shift our society’s values. Join the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and find connections in your state at https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/ . Please email us at [email protected] if you or your congregation is already involved or if you have any questions!
Click here to view a video on the Poor People's Campaign.