Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Carey McDonald, UUA Executive Vice President, speaks at the Massachusetts Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Truth

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The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.

The Unitarian Universalist Association is an official endorser and faith partner of the Campaign because we align with the goals, strategies, and tactics that strengthen multi-faith and partner relationships and coalitions, deepen our own faith, and help build a transformative movement for justice.

UUA Appoints Poor People's Campaign Leadership Council

In March 2020 the UUA brought together the newly established UUA Poor People’s Campaign Leadership Council co-chaired by UU ministers Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson of Palomar UU Fellowship in Vista, CA and Rev. Abhi Janamanchi of Cedar Lane UU in Bethesda, MD. UUA President Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, in consultation with the UUA Organizing Strategy Team, invited eight UU clergy and leaders to serve as liaisons to the campaign by representing the UUA at key events, speaking to the media on behalf of the UUA, advising the UUA about participation in the campaign and organizing UU participation.

In addition to the co-chairs, the other members are: Rev. Amy Williams Clark at Cedarhurst Unitarian Universalists Finksburg, MD, Pablo DeJesús, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ), Washington, DC, Rev. Jodi Cohen Hayashida at First Universalist Church of Auburn, ME, Rev. Edith Love of the Church of Resistance, Memphis TN, Rev. Rose Schwab of Shawnee Mission UU Church of Kansas City, KS, and Rev. Robin Tanner, Minister of Worship and Outreach at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, NJ (and former National Faith Organizer of the Poor People's Campaign).

Liaisons to the new PPC Leadership Council are Susan Leslie, Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director of the UUA Organizing Strategy Team as primary staff liaison, and Everette Thompson, Side with Love Campaign Manager, who is organizing with the Campaign.

The UUA Poor People’s Campaign Leadership Council is kicking off 2021 with a UU the Vote phone bank to Georgia on Sunday, January 3rd from 4-6 pm ET/1-3 PT. Please join Co-Chairs Rev. Beth Johnson and Rev. Abhi Janamanchi and the other Members of the Council, along with UUs for Social Justice (UUSJ), who are co-sponsoring this event. RSVP here!

At the Council’s first meeting on April 9, 2020 members discussed how to involve UUs in the current work of the campaign of organizing during the pandemic. The June 20, 2020 Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington will now be held virtually. The M.O.R.E. (Mobilize, Organize, Register & Educate) Bus Tours leading up to it have been converted to Digital Mass Meetings that will be held on April 30th and May 28th at 8:30 PM EST, 5:30 PM PST. UUs are being encouraged to invite family, friends and colleagues and to organize watch parties. The events will be live-streamed from the Poor People’s Campaign Facebook page.

The April 30th event is focused on Poverty Amidst Pandemic: Everybody’s Got A Right to Live Digital Mass Meeting, featuring testifiers from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin.

During the mass meeting, attendees are being asked to commit to shine a light on poverty by lighting a candle in remembrance of those who have died from COVID-19 and poverty. Tune in at Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The Poor People’s Campaign is organizing a Moral Response to COVID 19 and is collecting signatures on a petition sponsored by Move On. Sign here.

The Campaign has also created multi-faith resources for congregational worship services and gatherings this spring including the Poverty Amidst Plenty Pandemic Litany. This litany is the Campaign's moral statement and response to this pandemic. It can be read in religious services, organizing events, and shared widely. Here is a video version of Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber, Rev. Liz Theoharis and other campaign leaders from across the country reading the Litany.

More information will be forthcoming about the focus of the May mass meeting. The campaign says all roads lead to June 20, 2020 when we will rise up together as a powerful moral movement for a virtual Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington.

See Overview of the June 20, 2020 events and why we act.

The campaign has created a June 20, 2020 customized registration link for UUs and friends here.

National Emergency Truth & Poverty Bus Tour!

Almost 30 states are organizing statewide tours as part of the National Emergency Truth and Poverty Bus Tour from late March to mid-May, 2019. Find a tour near you. This map has tour information. Keep checking to find the tour stop closest to you!

UUA Executive Vice President Carey McDonald and Susan Leslie, UUA Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director, joined the Boston tour on April 28th.

Send us your photos, captions (including photographer credit), and 1-2 sentences about the tour and we'll include in our round-up about UU participation. Photos can be uploaded to a UUA Google album.

June 17-19, 2019 The Poor People's Moral Action Congress

UUA Joins Poor People's Campaign at Congressional Hearing to Address Violence through Policies that Abandon LGBTQ Youth

About the Poor People's Campaign

  • The goal of the Poor People’s Campaign is to build powerful state-based coalitions that can generate a moral movement across the country, shift the distorted national narrative of who and what matters with prophetic truth-telling and direct action, and ultimately transform the political, economic, and moral structures of our society. The campaign has an intersectional lens, addressing the plight of over 45 million people in the US who live in poverty, (and 100 million more who struggle economically) and confronting white supremacy, environmental destruction, voter suppression, mass incarceration and deportation, and militarism.
  • An escalated response to the extreme times we are living is needed—coordinated non-violent moral fusion direct action for 40 days of over 38,000 people of faith and conscience in 38 state capitals and in Washington, DC—with a set of demands that cannot be ignored.
  •  Following the season of action, massive voter registration and Get-Out-the Vote drives will be organized through the mid-term elections. Specific national and state organizing campaigns will come together in 2019 through 2020 for electoral and justice organizing.

The Third Reconstruction How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear

By William J. Barber II, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

From Beacon Press

The 2016-17 UUA Common Read A modern-day civil rights champion tells the stirring story of how he helped start a movement to bridge America's racial divide.

Buy This Book

The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20th, we will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-wealth people across this nation will be heard!

Learn more and RSVP

Ohio #PoorPeoplesCampaign coordinating committee is getting ready to start Unity Press Conference.

Ohio #PoorPeoplesCampaign coordinating committee before the start of the Unity Press Conference, February 5, 2018.

UUA Co-Moderator Elandria Williams (second from left) representing the UUA at the Poor People’s Campaign national press conference for the release of The Souls of Poor Folks audit along with representatives from Fight for Fifteen, Repairers of the Breach, and the Institute for Policy Studies.

See Facebook post

April 2020:

Trump and other extremists are again calling to “reopen the country.” Over the past week, many states have begun to ease restrictions on stay in place orders. These plans to reopen the economy show no regard for human life and are prioritizing the greed and profit of the few over the health of the majority. We cannot be silent as poor and marginalized people are disproportionately hurt by these policies.

This moment calls for all people of conscience to come together to call for moral noncooperation, to stay in place, stay alive and organize, organize, organize!

Poor People’s Campaign: Stay in Place, Stay Alive, ORGANIZE: A Call for Moral Non-Cooperation