Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II during the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress forum for presidential candidates at Trinity Washington University on June 17, 2019.

April 4, 1968, the day Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, is a significant date to be remembered. On that date this year, Bishop William J. Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival held a press conference at the National Press Club to show how extreme disparities are and have been in poor communities nationwide. 

These communities consist of African-Americans, and his report shows how they have been and continue to be hit disproportionately by COVID-19.

The Mass Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls will be held on June 18, 2022, will be attended by all generations, and it will be a transformative and disruptive gathering of poor and low-wealth people, state leaders, faith communities, moral allies, unions, and partnering organizations.

It is a declaration that we won’t be silent anymore, a declaration of an ongoing, nonviolent, truth-telling multi-racial, multi-generational, interfaith moral movement that’s been building for three years.

We are a moral fusion movement with a complete Third Reconstruction agenda that has 45 state coordinating committees, over 2,000 clergies who lead congregations, economists, voting rights lawyers and advocates, and 200 partners that reach millions of people.

Mobilizing was key to the First Reconstruction in the 19th century. As a prelude to the Progressive Era and the New Deal, Coxey’s Army (1894) and Bonus Marchers (1932) assembled in Washington, D.C., to put a face on the issue of poverty that was being ignored by elected leaders. You are invited.

A report to connect COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to both poverty and race was released April 4 at the National Press Club in D.C. by the Poor People’s Campaign and a team of world-renowned economists, researchers and experts.

The unprecedented findings of the “Poor People’s Pandemic Digital Report and Intersectional” were released by the Poor People’s Campaign and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Barber, the campaign’s co-chair, said:

“On the 54th anniversary of the murder of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when he was pleading with the nation to address poverty, racism and militarism, it is shameful that we have 140 million poor and low-wealth people in this nation.

“Even in a global pandemic, there hasn’t been a systematic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on poor and low-income communities. COVID-19 data collection does not include data on poverty, income, or occupation, alongside race and pandemic outcomes.

“The Poor People’s Pandemic Digital Report and Intersectional Analysis addresses this knowledge gap and exposes the unnecessary deaths by mapping community characteristics and connecting them with COVID-19 outcomes.

“The findings of this report reveal neglect and sometimes intentional decisions to not focus on the poor. The neglect of poor and low-wealth people in this country during a pandemic is immoral, shocking and unjust, especially in light of the trillions of dollars that profit-driven entities received.

“It is further evidence why we must have a Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18 as a declaration that our movement will intensify and embolden our agitation for this nation to have a third reconstruction that fully addresses poverty, racism, ecological devastation, denial of healthcare, and the war economy."

“It is further evidence why we must have a Mass Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls on June 18 as a declaration that our movement will intensify and embolden our agitation for this nation to have a third reconstruction that fully addresses poverty, racism, ecological devastation, denial of healthcare, and the war economy."

Lyndia Grant is a writer for the Washington Informer, and host of the radio show, “Think on These Things.”

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