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Common Dreams - April 4, 2022

On March 28, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival brought together a diverse coalition of participants in Madison, Wisconsin, to march for the rights of poor and low-wage workers across the United States. A parallel event took place in Raleigh, North Carolina; both were part of a buildup to a national march planned for June 18 in Washington, D.C.

The Poor People's Campaign draws from the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.'s original 1968 march of the same name, which sought to create a multiracial and multifaith movement that transcended left-right politics to demand fair living and working conditions for the poor.

The reimagined campaign was launched by the Reverend Liz Theoharis—who attended the Madison event—and the Reverend William J. Barber II in 2018. Its mission is to fight the "interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism."

A crowd of more than 100 people began to gather around 4:30 p.m. at the foot of Wisconsin's Capitol building, with a few faith groups congregating across the street before joining up with the larger group. Attendees visiting from chapters of the Poor People's Campaign in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, and Iowa, energetically smiled—oftentimes through a mask—and introduced themselves to each other.

Leading up to the start time at 5 p.m., organizers offered extra signs while a few participants handed out pamphlets for their own organizations. One handmade sign proclaimed "Union Jobs Now!" Others said "Protect Our Climate, Water, and Health" and "Invest in Kids, Not War." Another person walked around collecting signatures on a petition opposing the Line 5 pipeline.

In the crowd, I met Pastor Ari Douglass, who preaches at a progressive, LGBTQ+-affirming congregation in Janesville, Wisconsin, and was one of the event's regional organizers. I asked him to speak to the moral foundation of the movement. He told me he believes Jesus's phrase "the poor you will always have with you" is a "mandate, a royal decree" to act in solidarity with the poor. ...
Read full report at Common Dreams