I was in good company. There were at at least 8 clergy, along with 16 other folks who got arrested. Together, we were standing in solidarity with the Poor People’s Campaign in their second week of action focused on Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty. We were part of a nationwide campaign – with over 400 people getting arrested this past Monday in state capitols around the nation.
And the week before – same thing!
Hundreds of people got arrested, and thousands more standing for the theme of “Somebody’s Hurting Our People.”
It is time to break the silence about America’s real war on the poor, and for us all to understand the systemic nature of poverty. Although our economy might be growing, wages are not increasing; the federal minimum wage will does not keep people out of poverty; and, 40% of American have debt as a result of health care.
I believe that people should not live or die in poverty in the the richest country in the world.
I believe that it is time to reclaim the moral narrative of our country. As an elder I know that we must care for all people; and especially those who are going through difficult times. Isn't it our moral responsibility to care for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and to provide a good education for all children, along with decent health care? I think so.
Monday’s arrests were just the beginning. Over 40 days, we’ll take our demands to end systemic poverty and racism, the war economy and ecological devastation to my politicians in Harrisburg, and other state capitols. We’ll attend teach-ins and knock on doors all across the state to mobilize people to join our campaign and to engage in another form of powerful direct action: casting a vote in the next election. We are working on the state level because that is where much legislation is passed, and where we, as citizens and neighbors, can build power together -- from the ground up.
I do this for my children, and for the future. A country without strong moral values cannot continue to thrive.
Do you witness integrity in our leadership? Do you believe it is OK to bail out corporations, while we turn away from those in need? Should our young people be saddled with college debt? Should our high school students be subjected to gun violence in their schools?
We can do better!
These first 40 days are just the beginning of a sustained, multi-year effort to save our country’s soul.
When working with others to plan the original Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. King said that to get the attention of legislators, people should “sit down if necessary in the middle of the street and say, 'We are here; we are poor; we don't have any money; you have made us this way … and we've come to stay until you do something about it.”
In 31 state capitols across the country, that is exactly what we are doing.
Will you join us next week?
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Sign up at Poor People’s Campaign – and receive weekly updates about what is happening in your state/region. www.PoorPeoplesCampaign.org
- ATTEND A RALLY in your state capitol. Be a supporter, learn more, witness what is happening
- INVITE YOUR FRIENDS to come and view one of the livestreamed events. Be prepared with a few conversation starters.
- Download the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES of the Campaign and the AUDIT. Start a conversation with friends about these documents.
- DONATE! Money is needed for the Campaign, for buses, food, etc – and to help with bail money for those who are without funds.
- Help PUBLICIZE. Share the Facebook page, spread the word to your lists/friends. Explain why the campaign is important and how to sign up.