Poor People’s Campaign to Offer National Day of Training on April 14, Additional Resources to Support Growing Movement in Vermont
By the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp
On February 5, 2018, a hundred Vermonters gathered in the Statehouse to launch Vermont’s “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival.” This launch was undertaken simultaneously with 31 other states, and now 40 states are involved in this campaign. In Vermont we will be participating in a National Day of Training for the campaign on April 14, from 1:00 – 4:00 PM. The training event will take place at the Old North End Community Center, 20 Allen Street, Burlington, VT. During the training we will cover topics about the background and aims of the campaign, non-violent moral witness and support for the campaign.
I am very excited about this campaign. This is a call to change the moral narrative of our nation and our local communities and then to bring action to building the just and peaceful communities I hope for. The campaign is a call for 40 days of action beginning on Mothers’ Day, May 13, 2018 and ending on June 23, 2018. Each Monday, starting on May 14, there will be non-violent Moral Fusion Direct Actions in at least 40 statehouses throughout the nation Each week we will highlight a theme:
- Somebody is hurting our people and it’s gone on far too long – women, youth, the disabled and children in poverty and the right to education
- Connecting systemic racism and economic justice – voting rights and just immigration
- Veterans, our war economy and militarism
- The right to health – ecology, justice and health – water, extreme extraction, climate change and health care
- Everybody’s got a right to live – living wages, guaranteed income, housing and social services
The final action for the 40 day period of the campaign will take place in Washington, D.C. on June 23 with the theme:
- A new and unsettling force challenging our nation’s distorted moral narrative – a fusion movement rising up
These days of action will included civil disobedience, teach-ins and rallies to get out the word that a new call for moral revival is on the move.
The call to end poverty, racism and militarism Dr. King made fifty years ago is even more necessary in our current world.
The “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival” is based on the campaign initiated by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fifty years ago. But this is not a commemoration of the work done fifty years ago and tragically cut short by the assassination of Dr. King in Memphis, Tennessee at the sanitation workers’ strike. The call to end poverty, racism and militarism Dr. King made fifty years ago is even more necessary in our current world. In the intervening half century, poverty, systemic racism and the war economy have gotten worse and we are also now more aware of the deadly threat of climate change, especially in its disastrous consequences for the poor.
On April 10, 2018, an audit entitled, “The Souls of Poor Folk” will be released documenting the new realities of increasing poverty in the United States. This empirical documentation demonstrates why the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival” is needed now more than ever. Also, at the release of the audit, specific legislative goals to end voter suppression, to reduce military expenditures, to ensure access to health care for all, for living wages and to fully fund anti-poverty programs will be given as well. In Vermont we will use these national goals for a template for legislation for the campaign in the next legislative season.
Several years ago, the Rev. William Barber, president of the NAACP in North Carolina, began a “Moral Mondays” campaign at the North Carolina Statehouse in Raleigh. He would show up to demand action against voter suppression, work for increasing health care and taking care of the poorest in the state. This movement grew from 17 people on the first “Moral Monday” to thousands showing up. As one of the chairs of the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,” the Rev. Barber is urging us all to take his example to every statehouse and legislature. As the Rev. Barber says, “It is at the statehouses around the country that the damage is bring done.” Vermont will be a part of shining this moral spotlight to call for meeting the needs of the poor and for ending systemic racism and the destruction of our planet and stopping the war economy. I hope you will join with us!
For more information, please visit:
- National: www.poorpeoplescampign.org
- Vermont: www.poorpeoplescampaignvt.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/VTPPC/
The Rev. Earl Kooperkamp
Religion Tri-Chair, Poor People’s Campaign – Vermont
Church of the Good Shepherd, Barre, VT