Join the Poor People’s Campaign on June 18, 2022
In 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. launched a Poor People’s Campaign believing that people joining together could create, “a new and unsettling force in our complacent nation.” Over the last several years, UCC members and congregations have been participating in the continuation of this work through the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The campaign has united tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation while centering the voices and experiences of poor, low-wealth, and vulnerable communities.
During the summer of 2018, poor people and moral witnesses in 40 states committed themselves to a season of direct action to launch the Campaign. What ensued was the most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century United States.
In June 2019, the campaign convened over 1,000 community leaders in Washington, D.C. for the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress, which included the largest presidential candidates’ forum of the pre-debate season, the release of the Poor People’s Moral Budget, and a hearing before the House Budget Committee on the issues facing the 140 million poor and low-income people in the nation.
In June 2020, the Poor Peoples Campaign held a rally online – given the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic- with thousands of participants mobilizing to amplify the voices of poor and low wealth people in the 2020 elections.
In 2021, participants in the Poor Peoples Campaign worked tirelessly to support voting rights expansion and democracy reforms contained in H.R. 1, the For the People Act. Including engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience.
Through it all, UCC members and congregations have been faithfully engaged in the Poor People’s Campaign. And the work continues with even greater urgency. As march organizers have declared, “we assemble and march on June 18, 2022 because any nation that ignores nearly half of its citizens is in a moral, economic and political crisis. There were 140 million people who were poor or one emergency away from economic ruin before the pandemic. Since March 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died, millions are on the edge of hunger and eviction, and still without health care or living wages.”
Last month, the Poor Peoples Campaign released a report mapping the intersections of poverty, race and COVID-19, revealing that during the pandemic, people living in poorer counties died at nearly two times the rate of people who lived in richer counties. The study reflected the reality that crises do not unfold independently of the conditions from which they arise. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated preexisting social and economic disparities that have long festered in the U.S.
On June 18, 2022, hundreds of thousands of poor and low-wealth people will join with moral allies, both in-person in Washington, D.C. and online, in a generationally transformative declaration that the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty and ecological devastation, denial of health care, militarism and the false moral narrative of religious nationalism are killing all of us – and we can’t, we won’t, we refuse to be silent anymore!
As we have done in past years, we hope to see thousands and thousands of UCC justice advocates joining the June 18, 2022 mobilization either in-person or online. Plans are in the works to create a gathering space for in-person UCC participants on the day of the mobilization at First Congregational Church in Washington D.C. the morning of June 18 before gathering for the rally at Freedom Plaza. There are also plans to encourage UCC watch parties in communities around the country live-streaming the rally. March organizers have announced plans to hold a community dinner at Freedom Plaza from 5 to 7 PM ET at Freedom Plaza followed by a service near the Lincoln Memorial to remember and honor the lives lost to COVID-19 and interlocking injustices. Stay tuned for more details as they unfold!
In the meantime, below are resources and links you can use to encourage UCC members and congregations in your community to engage in the June 18 mobilization:
- June 18th promo video
- Pain and Poverty in America video
- It’s Time For a Meeting video
- Poor People’s Campaign Digital Toolkit
- Register Now!!!
Forward together! Not one step back!
Sandy Sorensen is Director of the UCC Washington D.C. Office.
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