While all of the media will focus their attention on Donald Trump’s Nuremberg-style death cult rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma tomorrow, where his disastrous failures of mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, the collapsing economy, and systemic racism in America will all collide — the media are the lookie-loos who crane their necks to check out this train wreck in passing — there is something more useful, hopeful and optimistic you can do with your time on Saturday.
The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, the moral voice of this generation, is cosponsoring The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington this Saturday. Poor People’s Campaign eyes ‘virtual march’ in poverty fight (excerpt):
Modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last organizing effort, the new campaign seeks to bring the issue of poverty to the American consciousness amid anxiety, uncertainty and growing inequality.
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington (link) aims to build upon the nation’s principles to pursue solutions to poverty — something advocates say is getting especially severe in rural areas.
But instead of assembling in camps near the National Mall — as protesters did in the wake of King’s death in 1968, as part of the Poor People’s Campaign — this week’s gathering will offer poor people a chance to describe their lives, live-streamed to a national audience.
The digital gathering grew out of an original plan for a march in front of the White House this summer. That idea was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers say poor coal miners from Kentucky and San Carlos Apache members from Arizona will speak about their own experiences in extreme poverty. Residents from Appalachia will discuss their food deserts, while others from the Mississippi Delta will talk about the lack of jobs.
The gathering comes two years after Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis of New York City encouraged activists in 40 states to take part in acts of civil disobedience, teach-ins, and demonstrations to force communities to address poverty on the anniversary of King’s event.
Barber said the coalition is operating in 45 states. Organizers have visited colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border and met with poor white farmers in Kansas.
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“COVID-19 hits, and our country is quite negligent,” said the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, an organizer of Saturday’s march and president of the Repairers of the Breach (link), a nonprofit group that fights poverty and discrimination. “Global pandemics, by their very nature, exploit the fissures of society and America has fissures in terms of poverty and systemic racism.”
Childhood malnutrition, graduation rates and early deaths are worst among rural, black-majority counties in the American South and isolated counties where Native Americans live, according to a report released this month by the advocacy group Save the Children.
Using federal data from 2018 and examining more 2,600 counties and their equivalents, the report found that about a third of the 50 poorly ranked counties are majority African American and a quarter are majority Native American.
Barber said statistics like those should inspire the county to take action. He said organizers want both President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to hold at least one debate that focuses on poverty.
“We are going to be a face on it,” Barber said. “Then, we are committed to a mass effort to build voting power.”
Livestream the event at 10AM and 6PM EST on June 20, and again on Sunday June 21 at 6PM EST, at https://www.june2020.org.
MSNBC will stream “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington” on Saturday, June 20, from 10am to 12:30pm EST on MSNBC.com and the MSNBC Youtube Channel.
- The best place to participate on June 20 and June 21 is right here at www.june2020.org!
- We are excited to announce that the following radio stations, online media outlets and TV networks are planning to stream the program on June 20, 2020 in part or in whole. Of course, we cannot guarantee the time or extent of the program they will carry, so the safest place to view the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington is still tuning in at www.june2020.org: MSNBC, Urban Radio/Radio One/Digital One, WPFW (89.3FM in the Washington DC area), WBAI (99.5FM- New York City area), KPFK (across California), Time.com, ABCNews.com, Muslim Network TV, FreeSpeech TV, Jeff Santos Show, RealNews and more!
- Over 300 Facebook pages of partner organizations have signed on to cross post the broadcast from the Poor People’s Campaign’s page.
- If you or someone you know does not have Internet access, please dial in to (425) 436-6277 and use the Participant Code 521837 to listen to the broadcast.
The mass civil rights movement which has sprung up following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers gives me renewed hope that we are indeed witnessing a moral movement for a Third Reconstruction to heal this nation of its self-inflicted wounds from systemic racism. The Third Reconstruction: How A Moral Movement Is Overcoming The Politics Of Division And Fear, By The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (2016).
(Video from January 2013).