40 Days That Will Remake America: How You Can Get Involved
Fifty years ago, before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had become an icon, before there was a national holiday in his honor, before he had a memorial in Washington, DC, he was a revolutionary. He understood that systemic poverty was not a black or white issue. “We know now,” he said in 1968, just two weeks before his death, “that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?” He wanted his Poor People’s Campaign to unite the poor of all races, all those “sick and tired of waiting for a better life.”
Sure, we’ve made some progress over the past half-century, but not nearly enough. And that’s why we need a new Poor People’s Campaign today. Modern-day civil rights activists Rev. William Barber, Rev. Liz Theoharis, and their fellow organizers are asking all of us to rededicate ourselves to completing Dr. King’s work, so that together we can save “the soul of this nation.” We were there when they launched this new campaign in Washington, DC, in December. We’re proud to stand with them now as they begin the next phase of this movement: 40 Days of Direct Action. Want to help? Join the movement today.
Dr. King was known for his Sunday sermons, and in the very last one he delivered before his assassination, he said this:
We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that it signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic non-violent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.
Starting on May 13th, the Poor People’s Campaign will be engaging in 40 days of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action from coast to coast to do just that.
Back in December, Rev. Barber said, “We aren’t going to protest in a corner somewhere. The US Capitol, US State Houses are the people’s houses. These are OUR houses.” These 40 days will ratchet up the pressure on local and national leaders to end systemic poverty, to end systemic racism, to end out-of-control military spending, and to end the destruction of our environment. But for this to work, we all need to get involved.
After all, Dr. King couldn’t do it alone, brilliant as he was. It took marchers and protesters filling the streets. It took going to the polls, it took pressuring politicians. And now it’s our turn. Every week between May 13 and June 23 has a theme—and plenty of ways to show your support.
Across the 40 states where these events will be held, people will be able to take direct action in state capitals, learn about the week’s theme, attend cultural events, and so much more. Sign up with the Poor People’s Campaign to find out what’s happening near you. We need your voice—and we need your help.
The time has come for America to realize Dr. King’s vision and fulfill its promise to all its citizens. What defines a nation’s strength? Its military alone? Its wealth? Or how it seeks to raise up children born in every community? We want this country to live up to its promise, to become the place Dr. King and so many others dreamed of.
We all learned in school about the nation’s founders—Washington, Jefferson, and the rest. But what did they find? Was this place fully formed, its government perfected? No. Nor is it today. Each one of us can become a founder. Each one of us, by joining with the Poor People’s Campaign, can remake America.
Want to learn more about the Poor People's Campaign? Click here for the full scoop!
Qualified immunity lets police officers get away with the kind of conduct that would land anybody else in prison. What to make sure police are held accountable? Help us end qualified immunity today!
Every day, we hear about another horrific mass shooting. Every day, Americans say they want to end gun violence. Yet, every day the Republicans in Congress refuse to act. Find out why here.