This Martin Luther King Day, we must continue a campaign for social, political and economic rights, not simply to commemorate a man. This nation needs a different kind of Martin Luther King Day. More than a day, we are and have been, building a moral fusion movement. We need a movement led by poor and low-wage workers pushing for a Third Reconstruction and declaring that we don’t want some of our justice, we want all of our justice.
Fifty years after Dr. King and other leaders like Caesar Chavez, Hank Adams, Bertha Burres, Myles Horton, welfare rights moms, the Jewish federation and others called for a Poor People’s Campaign, poor and marginalized people across America have united not to commemorate their vision, but to consecrate a new movement that has the ability to transform the heart and soul of this nation, and the moral structures of society. The legacy of Fannie Lou Hamer, Rev. Douglass Kirkpatrick, Jimmy Collier, Betty Mae Fikes, Mary Wright Edelman – who brought the idea of forming a Poor People’s Campaign along with The National Welfare Rights Organization – and countless unnamed leaders from the ranks of the poor is, us. We carry on their legacy by building this national campaign organized around the needs and demands of the 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this nation. With over 35 state coordinating committees across the country, we are declaring we won’t be silent anymore!
Picture by Emily Farthing from The Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls . There are thousands of activists holding signs that read
This moral fusion movement is on the move! This weekend, state campaigns from coast to coast are taking action and shaking the very chains of the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, militarism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism. The actions below serve as just a few examples of our work. It is important to reiterate this because we have built, and will continue, to build a movement, not just a moment.
On January 16th, the California Poor People’s Campaign is hosting readings of our Third Reconstruction Agenda as part of the launch of their new Third Reconstruction Agenda campaign: Close the Wealth Gap, CA! They started this initiative last month to celebrate the success of the GOTV efforts across the state and outlined their plans for 2023.
The Maine Poor People’s Campaign held a watch party of “Moral Policy Is Good Economics” featuring our Policy Director, Shailly Gupta Barnes.
Earlier this week, the Maryland Poor People’s Campaign and other social change partners gathered in Annapolis for the opening of the 2023 Maryland General Assembly and handed out fact sheets with our 2023 legislative priorities.
Yesterday, the Massachusetts Poor People’s Campaign gathered at The Cathedral Church of St Paul, Boston prior to the unveiling of The Embrace Sculpture to discuss the work and legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Coretta Scott King and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
The Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign continues to sound the alarm on the decades of neglect by crying out for clean water and the right to keep it public. These are just a few examples from our statewide coordinating committees.
This weekend, the New York Poor People’s Campaign will be hosting three hybrid mass meetings to lift up a new ground-breaking State of the State Report (available in both English and Spanish) which documents the prevalence of poverty and mass inequality in the state. Did you know that more than half of all children in NY State are poor or low income and that homelessness in New York City is reaching the highest levels since the Great Depression?
Last month the Rhode Island Poor People’s Campaign brought the lack of housing back to their State House, pointing out the “short term nature” of their Governor’s “response” to an exploding epidemic of homelessness.
Indeed from Appalachia to Alabama, the Carolinas to California, the Borderlands to the Bronx, from the hood to the holler, people are uniting under the banner, “We Won’t Be Silent Anymore!!”
Picture by Steve Pavey from The Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls . There are thousands of activists looking towards a stage with the Moral Justice Choir. The State Capital Building is in the background.
Last June, we held a historic, generationally transformative gathering of poor and low-wealth people at The Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls which brought over 100,000 people to DC. In addition those in the streets, digital organizers with the PPC:NCMR have tracked several million people who watched on social media. Justice is coming.
Picture of the successful stats from the PPC’s National GOTV program. Over 5.1 million voters were contacted!
Last November, our nationwide Get Out The Vote Mobilization reached over 5.1 million poor and low-wealth voters in 15 priority states, representing 1 out of every 50 eligible voters. We more than doubled our reach from the last election! We are Waking The Sleeping Giant. Justice is coming.
This June, we will hold our Poor People’s Moral Action Congress. We will hold major actions in state capitols across the country. We will continue to mobilize, organize, register, and educate. We won’t be silent or unseen anymore.
Forward together, not one step back!
The Rev Dr William J. Barber, II. President of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Director of The Kairos Center for Religions Rights and Social Justice and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.