Today's Campaign is named after the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., until his assassination. It was started to get our government to re-prioritize military spending and invest more in addressing issues of poverty. 50 years later, there’s still much work to do.
Today, half of all Americans are poor or low-income. Millions of children and adults continue to live without access to healthcare, housing, clean water, or good jobs. We can do better. The modern-day Poor People's Campaign seeks to unite Americans across race, nationality & class to fight poverty, racism, militarism & ecological devastation.
We share Dr. King's belief that a person need not die of poverty in the richest nation in the world. Join us in supporting unity and justice for all: sign up for the Poor People’s Campaign.
Change only comes when we're willing to step up and take action in support of our beliefs. Each week between May 13 and June 23, the campaign will be drawing attention - and taking action in support of - a particular theme. You'll be able to learn about the week’s theme, attend cultural events, and take direct action in 40 state capitals around the country.
Child poverty, Women, LGBTQIA+, and People with Disabilities
What better time than the week of Mother’s Day to draw attention to child poverty and children living in poverty in single mother households? With nearly 4 in 10 children poor for one or more years before they reach age 18 - nearly double the point-in-time estimate - and more than 1 in 10 poor for half or more of their childhood years, children and other marginalized populations face an uphill battle from the day they’re born.
Voting Rights, Ending Mass Incarceration, and Justice for Immigrants
The Civil Rights movement may feel like a distant memory, but the echoes of Jim Crow era policies continue to curtail the rights of millions of Americans. In the state of Florida alone, more than 1.6 million returning citizens who have paid their debt to society can never vote again. It may surprise you to learn that the permanent disenfranchisement of our citizenry is not an issue just for minorities - three-fourths of Floridians who cannot vote are white. Week 2 will highlight reforms to our criminal justice system that will benefit all.
Militarism, the War Economy, Veterans, and Education
During Memorial Day Week, the Campaign will discuss the moral imperative we place a higher priority on homeless veterans than weapons of war in our military budget. Consider this: just $8.6 billion is slated to go toward the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve intervention for at-risk veterans in the most recently passed US budget, vs. more than $400 billion for 2,456 jets in the most recent spending bill. Skewed priorities, anyone?
Clean Air, Clean Water, and Healthcare for All
In week four, the Campaign will highlight the disproportionate impact of climate change and other environmental issues on the poor. From bearing the brunt of climate change-induced storms to a decreased ability to absorb associated costs, our planet’s poorest citizens are the ones most impacted by global changes they had the least hand in creating.
Jobs, Income, the Right to Organize, and Housing
The fifth week of the 40 Days of Action will examine the disconnect between the will of citizens and the priorities of elected officials. For example, many politicians view arming teachers with guns as a higher priority than increasing teacher wages and adequately resourcing classrooms. The problem is particularly acute in southern states like Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee which have some of the lowest teacher wages in the country, yet have recently introduced legislation to allow guns in schools.
A Fusion Movement Rising Up
In the final week of the 40 Days of Action, we’ll come together as a united movement to articulate our vision for an America that serves us all. In a world where 1% of the global population receives 82% of the wealth, there’s never been more need for a Poor People’s Campaign. We’ll celebrate the progress we’ve made over the past six weeks, and we’ll re-dedicate ourselves to continuing the work required to make our shared vision a reality. After all, the 40 Days is just the beginning.
Fifty years after the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, we are still fighting for racial equity in America. Racial justice and economic justice are inextricably linked, and in the words of the Reverend Julian DeShazier, "Until it's all of us, it's none of us." Let's take action together.