Poor People's Campaign

June 23, 2021

TODAY: March on Manchin & McConnell begins at Supreme Court in DC

WASHINGTON – Bishop William J. Barber II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival,’ have announced a Moral March on Manchin and McConnell. The event will be held TODAY, Wednesday, June 23 at 1 p.m. ET and begin in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. From there, the group will head to the Hart Building in an attempt to meet with Sens. McConnell and Manchin.

The group is expected to bring more than seven buses of poor and low-wealth workers of all colors, creeds, religions, and backgrounds to the nation’s capital. Participants include constituents from Sens. Manchin and McConnell’s home states of West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as buses from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. The moral march will be livestreamed via https://www.breachrepairers.org/livestream. MoveOn.org will also cross-post the action from its website as well.

The event was organized by the Poor People’s Campaign and partners, including Repairers of the Breach (Bishop William J. Barber II), the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice (Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis), Forward Justice Action Network, MoveOn.org (Rahna Epting), National Council of Churches (Rev. Jim Winkler), the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.), Transformative Justice Coalition (Attorney Daryl D. Jones), and Faith in Public Life (Rev. Jennifer Butler).

“It is a travesty that there is even a need for a “For the People Act” when we have a Constitution with the 15th Amendment that says no state or entity can deny or abridge the right to vote,” Bishop Barber said. “The For the People Act is only necessary because of extremist Republican politicians who have attempted to deny and abridge the right to vote of Americans with whom they disagree. The Voting Rights Act should have been restored June 26, 2013, the day after it was wrongfully gutted by the five members of the Supreme Court. Neither Manchin nor McConnell have done a thing over the last eight years to fix the Voting Rights Act. Lastly, the components that Manchin wants removed from the For the People Act are the very things that make it strong. The only thing he wants to add – photo ID – not only weakens the measure but curtails the right to vote. His addition undermines court battles that civil rights lawyers are fighting right now.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the campaign, said: “What is happening in state legislatures across the country in terms of passing voting restrictions is threatening our democracy. What extremists are doing in state legislatures is hurting all of us. There has been a clarion call coming out of West Virginia, Kentucky and all across the nation. We must fight to defend our democracy and protect and expand voting rights. From West Virginia to Kentucky and beyond, people are rising up to stop the filibuster and demand living wages, healthcare, infrastructure and more.”

“When John Lewis originally wrote the For the People Act, it was strong, constitutional and morally sound,” Barber added. “There was no need to compromise; all that was needed was an up or down vote. Congress shouldn’t have to vote, and we shouldn’t have to accept the Manchin compromise. He should break the non-constitutional filibuster and support John Lewis’s dream and the hope of the martyrs to protect democracy.


Bishop William J. Barber II, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
Pamela Garrison, cashier and grandmother
Jean Evansmore, New Hope (Fayette County), West Virginia
Pastor David M. Fryson, New First Baptist Church of Kanawha City
Arnold Farr, Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign
Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner, The Blvd Christian Church, Memphis, TN
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, National City Christian Church, Washington, DC
Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Bethesda, MD
Rev. Jennifer Butler, Faith in Public Life
Rev. Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Kashish Bastola, Sunrise Movement
Rahna Epting, MoveOn
Attorney Daryl D. Jones, Transformative Justice Coalition

Background: The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. From Alaska to Arkansas, the Bronx to the border, people are coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. We understand that as a nation we are at a critical juncture — that we need a movement that will shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections at every level of government, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people.

Jennifer R. Farmer, [email protected]
Sydney Bagley, [email protected]
Yolanda Barksdale, [email protected]