Poor People’s Campaign readies US mobilization
The renewed version of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to lift poor people is holding its first national mobilization, with actions and events planned today in 32 states and the nation’s capital.
Poor people, clergy and activists in the Poor People’s Campaign plan to deliver letters to politicians in state Capitol buildings demanding that leaders confront what they call systemic racism evidenced in voter suppression laws and poverty rates.
Among those who have signed on to the campaign is the Rev. John Mendez, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., who recalled protesting in New York City in the 1960s.
The campaign is especially important now because the leaders who don’t want to help the poor “should not have a free hand to say and do whatever they want and there be no resistance,” he said.
Led by the Revs. William Barber of North Carolina and Liz Theoharis of New York, the campaign officially began Dec. 4, 50 years after King started the first Poor People’s Campaign. King was assassinated a few months later and “nobody really picked it up” until now, Mendez said.
The letters to politicians call for a new course in government. Rev, Barber, who will be among the group that delivers letters to the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.