Poor People's Campaign

June 16, 2021

Visuals from Monday’s assembly include memorial wall where people can add names of family, friends who died from COVID 

Speakers are from DC, North Carolina, NYC, Maryland, Boston, Philadelphia, Georgia & Washington state 

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival returns to the roots of the nation’s moral movement when it holds a National Poor People’s & Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly in the same North Carolina location where Moral Mondays began. The assembly marks the launch of 365 days of fighting forward to a Mass Moral March on Washington in June 2022. 

“The manipulations and tactics of those like Manchin, McConnell and the ruling wealthy elite demand a mass movement of poor and low-wealth people and their allies for a Third Reconstruction,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. 

The assembly, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 21, will be a hybrid in-person and online event, with people gathering at Halifax Mall, 300 N. Salisbury St., in Raleigh, North Carolina and also online at www.3rdReconstruction.org. The program will be headlined by people directly impacted by racism, poverty and their interlocking injustices, in addition to movement music, artist-activists and advocates.

The first Moral Monday was held in April 2013 when Rev. Barber led a group into the North Carolina General Assembly to protest the regressive legislation being rammed through by extremist lawmakers. Seventeen people were arrested; almost 1,000 were arrested at the end of the 2013 protests in what historians have called the largest sustained civil disobedience campaign at a state legislature in U.S. history.

A poignant part of the assembly on Monday is a COVID memorial wall based on the campaign’s online wall that contains about 700 names. People can add names of loved ones who died from COVID to the four 4 x 8 panels.

“As Mother Jones said’ ‘we pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,’” said Charon Hribar, director of cultural resources for the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice. “And that’s what we’re doing here.” 

Staff and volunteers will set up the art projects, including the wall, starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 20. Reporters, photographers and video journalists are welcome to drop by and see the work in progress. 

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign and director of the Kairos Center, will lead a panel of faith leaders and introduce speakers. About 7:45 p.m., Rev. Barber will deliver the keynote address.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy, who joined the campaign in February as a special adviser, will participate in the assembly remotely. Also speaking will be Armenta Eaton, who along with her mother Rosanell Eaton, was a plaintiff in the North Carolina NAACP vs. McCrory court case that overturned a monster voter suppression bill. 

Other speakers include a faith panel of: 

  • Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.
  • Imam Khalid Griggs of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, vice president of the Islamic Circle of North America.
  • Rev. Leslie Callahan, pastor of St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Philadelphia. 
  • Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, co-lead pastor of the multicultural Lamb’s Church of the Nazarene in New York City. 
  • Rev. Sarah Monroe, founder and priest in charge of Chaplains on the Harbor in  Montesano, Washington.
  • Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland. 

An economic panel of: 

  • Jeffrey Sachs, economist and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. 
  • Darrick Hamilton, founding director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Stratification and Political Economy at The New School in New York City. 
  • Heidi Shierholz, senior director and director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. 
  • Shailly Gupta Barnes, policy director, Poor People’s Campaign. 
  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair, Poor People’s Campaign and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, a co-sponsor of the campaign. 

Attacks on democracy panel: 

  • Caitlin Swain, executive director of Forward Justice in Raleigh, North Carolina. 
  • Nse Ufot, chief executive officer of the New Georgia Project. 
  • Nancy McLean, historian and professor at Duke University. 

CONTACT: Martha Waggoner | [email protected]  | 919-295-0802