Birmingham to Host ​​​Mass Meeting​ As ​Part​ of ​​‘Poor​ ​People’s Campaign’

Times staff report

The Rev.​ Dr. William​ J. Barber, II (right) will​ co-lead​ a Moral​ Revival​ mass meeting​ in​ Birmingham that draws​ ​on the​ ​history,​ ​vision​ ​and​ ​unfinished​ ​work​ ​of​ ​Rev.​ ​Dr.​ ​Martin​ ​Luther​ ​King​ ​Jr.’s​ ​1967-68 Poor People’s Campaign​​ ​that​ ​called​ ​for​ ​a​ ​“revolution​ ​of​ ​values”​ ​in​ ​America. (Wikipedia)

The Rev.​ Dr. William​ J. Barber, II​ and​ the Rev​ Dr.​ Liz Theoharis will​ co-lead​ a Moral​ Revival​ mass meeting​ in​ Birmingham to discuss​ the​ impacts​ of systemic​ racism, poverty, ​militarism,​ and​ ecological​ devastation in Alabama and across​ the​ U.S.

The meeting is scheduled for ​​Sunday,​ ​Nov.​ ​19,​ ​at​ ​5:00 p.m.​ in ​Tabernacle​ ​​Baptist​ ​Church,​ ​600 Center​ ​St.,​ ​N.,​ ​Birmingham,​ ​AL​ ​35204.

The​ ​event​ ​is​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​a​ ​15-State​ ​Moral​ ​Revival​ ​Mass​ ​Meeting​ ​and​ ​Public​ ​Event​ ​Tour ​co-led​ ​by Greater​ ​Birmingham Ministries,​ ​Birmingham​ ​Progressive​ ​Christian​ ​Alliance,​ Montgomery-based ​Equal​ ​Justice​ ​Initiative and ​Alabama​ ​Center​ ​for​ ​Rural Enterprise.

“​​This​ ​movement​ ​intentionally​ ​addresses​ ​systemic racism,​ ​poverty,​ ​environmental​ ​degradation,​ ​the​ ​war​ ​economy,​ ​the​ ​negative​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​fulfilling​ ​the promises​ ​of​ ​our​ ​democracy,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​call​ ​of​ ​fundamental​ ​human​ ​rights,”​​ ​said​ Barber, ​​president​ ​and​ ​Senior ​Lecturer​ ​of​ ​Repairers​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Breach​ ​and​ ​co-chair​ ​of​ ​the Poor​ ​People’s​ ​Campaign:​ ​A​ ​National​ ​Call​ ​for​ ​Moral​ ​Revival​.

​“As​ ​our​ ​social​ ​fabric​ ​is​ ​stretched​ ​thin​ ​by​ ​widening​ ​income​ ​inequality,​ ​politicians​ ​criminalize the​ ​poor,​ ​fan​ ​the​ ​flames​ ​of​ ​racism​ ​and​ ​xenophobia​ ​to​ ​divide​ ​the​ ​poor,​ ​and​ ​steal​ ​from​ ​the​ ​poor​ ​to​ ​give tax​ ​breaks​ ​to​ ​the​ ​rich​ ​and​ ​budget​ ​increases​ ​to​ ​a​ ​bloated​ ​military,” he said. “​At​ ​such​ ​a​ ​time​ ​as​ ​this,​ ​we​ ​need​ ​a​ ​Poor People’s​ ​Campaign:​ ​A​ ​National​ ​Call​ ​for​ ​Moral​ ​Revival​ ​to​ ​help​ ​us​ ​become​ ​the​ ​nation​ ​we’ve​ ​not​ ​yet​ ​been,” he​ ​said.

The campaign ​​draws​ ​on the​ ​history,​ ​vision​ ​and​ ​unfinished​ ​work​ ​of​ ​Rev.​ ​Dr.​ ​Martin​ ​Luther​ ​King​ ​Jr.’s​ ​1967-68 Poor People’s Campaign​​ ​that​ ​called​ ​for​ ​a​ ​“revolution​ ​of​ ​values”​ ​in​ ​America,​ ​inviting​ ​people​ ​who​ ​had​ ​been divided​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​together​ ​against​ ​the​ ​“triplets​ ​of​ ​evil”—​ ​systemic​ ​racism,​ ​poverty,​ ​and​ ​militarism​ ​–​ ​to insist​ ​that​ ​people​ ​need​ ​not​ ​die​ ​from​ ​poverty​ ​in​ ​the​ ​richest​ ​nation​ ​to​ ​ever​ ​exist.

“These​ ​are​ ​difficult​ ​and​ ​dangerous​ ​days,”​ ​said​ ​Theoharis, ​​co-director​ ​of the​ ​Kairos​ ​Center​ ​for​ ​Religions,​ ​Rights,​ ​and​ ​Social​ ​Justice​ ​at​ ​Union​ ​Theological​ ​Seminary​ ​and​ ​co-chair​ ​of the​ ​Poor​ ​People’s​ ​Campaign.

​​“One​ ​in​ ​two​ ​Americans​ ​are poor​ ​or​ ​low-income.​ ​Immigrants,​ ​Muslims,​ ​homeless​ ​people,​ ​and​ ​youth​ ​are​ ​under​ ​attack.​ ​Upwards​ ​of​ ​32 million​ ​people​ ​will​ ​lose​ ​their​ ​health​ ​care​ ​under​ ​Trumpcare.​

“​Sixty-five​ ​million​ ​workers​ ​make​ ​less​ ​than $15/hour​ ​and​ ​some​ ​states​ ​are​ ​actually​ ​lowering​ ​their​ ​minimum​ ​wages,” Theoharis said. “​Millions​ ​of​ ​people​ ​are​ ​living without​ ​clean​ ​water​ ​and​ ​sanitation​ services.​ ​Voting​ ​rights​ ​are​ ​being​ ​suppressed​ ​and​ ​wars​ ​are​ ​waging across​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​intensifying.​ ​These​ ​and​ ​many​ ​other​ ​crises​ ​mean​ ​it​ ​is​ ​urgent​ ​we​ ​build​ ​a​ ​Poor People’s​ ​Campaign​ ​today,”​ ​she​ ​said.

The​ ​Tour​ ​has included​ ​stops​ ​in​ ​Charlotte; ​Louisville; ​Detroit; ​Los​ ​Angeles; ​ ​Chicago; ​New​ ​York;​ ​Boston ​and​ will conclude Dec.​ ​4 in the District of Columbia.