Fifty years to the day that Martin Luther King called for a Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, and their fellow organizers announced a renewed movement to eliminate systemic poverty, systemic racism, environmental degradation, and America’s militarism.
More than a hundred people crowded into a press conference kicking off the new Poor People’s Campaign, a National Call for Moral Rival, in Washington, DC, this morning. Representing a diversity of faiths, denominations, and backgrounds, and coming from all over the country, they cheered Rev. Barber as he proclaimed that they’d “come to the capital in a season of moral crisis to launch a season of civil disobedience.”
Rev. Barber led the crowd—including Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Jerry Greenfield and chairman of the board Jeff Furman, along with Ben & Jerry’s employees—in a silent procession, marching two by two and hand in hand, to the Capitol Building to deliver a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemning the recently passed budget bill.
Majority Leader McConnell refused to meet with Rev. Barber and members of the campaign or accept their letter, so Barber led the marchers into the center of the Capitol Rotunda. There, under the soaring dome, surrounded by statues and paintings representing scenes from American history, not to mention a good number of Capitol police officers, he offered a prayer of hope and determination, demanding an end to the war on the poor and vulnerable and a revitalization of the heart of American democracy.
“We aren’t going to protest in a corner somewhere,” Barber said. “The US Capitol, US State Houses are the people’s houses. These are OUR houses.” In May the campaign will start a season of civil disobedience to bring attention to the new campaign and deliver its message in every state, coast to coast.
Rev. Barber and the other organizers have an audacious goal. They want save “the soul of this nation” and help America finally fulfill its promise to all its people. We stand with them. We hope you will too.
Learn more and join the Poor People’s Campaign by visiting PoorPeoplesCampaign.org.