Rev. Barber Leads “Poor People’s” Virtual Assembly June 20th
By Cash Michaels
It is touted to be “the largest digital gathering of poor, dispossessed and impacted people, faith leaders and people of conscience…,” and, led by Rev. Dr. William Barber, former president of the NCNAACP, it’s happening this Saturday, June 20th.
“The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” is sponsoring the national digital event from Washington, D.C. “…to dramatize the pain and prophetic leadership of the poor…,” effectively “waking the nation to the interlocking injustices facing 140 million poor and low-income people - 43 percent of the nation.”
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March was originally planned to be a mass gathering and procession on the streets of our Nation’s Capitol; however, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed those plans.
It is certainly no accident that this event is taking place during a crucial election year. Rev. Barber, president of social justice group “Repairers of the Breach,” and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign along with Rev Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary say the virtual mass assembly and march is designed to “organize towards collective action to enact a moral agenda” for the nation, and “…demands that [Democrats and Republicans] address the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism…”
Ultimately, both reverends Barber and Theoharis hope that the collective energy generated by the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will translate in a greater voice for poor people at the polls this November, and beyond.
“If the rejected millions—the poor without health insurance, without living wages, without clean water, without voting protections—unite, we can move the moral and political imagination of this country and revive the heart of our democracy,” they say.
The event has taken on more significance since the racial deaths of Amaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. In an “Open Letter to Our Nation’s Lawmakers on Systematic Racism, the Poor People’s Campaign wrote:
We lift up those who are taking action against police brutality and all forms of violence against black, brown, indigenous and poor people. Our collective public mourning is an expression of outrage, anguish and pain from these multiple pandemics of police violence, policy violence and economic violence. We are committed to ending systemic racism, poverty, militarism, climate crisis and a distorted moral narrative that denies, excuses and justifies violence against us.
“We need sweeping change. The long train of abuses demand it. Too many deaths demand it. And the protests demand it.
We demand that our politicians address the full extent of this violence — not only the police violence — that we have been suffering from for generations.
Somebody’s been hurting our people for far too long. And we won’t be silent anymore.
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, a digital virtual event, will be a two-hour program to be broadcast on Saturday, June 20th at 10:00am and 6:00pm, and again on Sunday, June 21st at 6:00pm. Visit June2020.org to tune in.