Poor People’s Campaign

The following message was included in a Moderator’s Memo sent to Cleveland Park Congregational Church on March 1, 2018:

Pastor Ellen and congregation member Laura Kisthardt (who is a student at Yale Divinity School and also our UCC delegate) recently attended a gathering for the new Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The purpose of this movement is to unite people to work toward a just, sustainable, and participatory society. It draws on the history, vision, and unfinished work of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Laura sent me a write up of her impressions of the event, and I am including a condensed version here:

On Monday, February 18th, I joined Pastor Ellen at Shiloh Baptist Church for the Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting in Washington, DC. I knew right away that it was going to be a special evening because of the wonderful music that was playing before the program even began. After the announcements, the real fun began of singing! The worship music was led by Yara Allen from Repairers of the Breach. The spirit and energy in the room was incredible. Hundreds of people singing and clapping together. We continued singing for about thirty minutes with many songs including “Go tell the President/ We shall not be moved/ Go tell the President/ We shall not be moved/ Just like a tree planted by the water/ We shall not be moved.”

Transitioning from the singing to the speakers, Terrence Mayo reminded us of the realities faced by many poor people in DC and the 7,473 homeless people who were counted in 2017. Rev. Dr. Barber spoke to the room on live video chat. He began by explaining why we need a moral movement in this country. Rev. Dr. Barber gave many poignant reasons. One that especially struck me was when he said, “When you can buy unleaded gas, but can’t buy unleaded water – we need a moral movement!” Rev. Graylan Hagler introduced five individuals directly impacted by poverty in various ways. Each testimony was powerful and real.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis gave the closing remarks. She reflected back on King’s original Poor People’s Campaign and drew connections to the current campaign. She shared that the current state of our country is an emergency and we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to fix it. It was energizing to see such a large room full of people ready to take action.

If you are interested in learning more about the Poor People’s Campaign or getting involved, please check out the following website: www.poorpeoplescampaign.org.

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