Poor People's Campaign

Mass Moral Revival & Rally begins at 4 p.m ET Sunday at West Virginia Capitol 

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival will hold a revival and rally on Sunday to shine a light on the economic hurt that West Virginians will suffer if their senator, Joe Manchin, gets his way on cuts to the Build Back Better plan. 

The Mass Moral Revival and Rally will begin at 4 p.m. at the West Virginia Capitol, North Circle Stage, 1900 Kanawha Blvd E, in Charleston. The PPC:NCMR co-chairs, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, will speak at the rally as will two of the tri-chairs of the West Virginia PPC, Pam Garrison and Jean Evansmore. 

“Sen. Manchin has sadly become the new Senator No,” Rev. Barber said, using the nickname that obstructionist Sen. Jesse Helms had. “No to paying home health workers a living wage. No to free community college. No to dental and vision help for senior citizens. No to a $15/hour minimum wage. No to fully protected voting rights. In spite of the need, he says no except when it comes to corporations and the wealthy and his own pockets being filled with money.  Then it’s yes, yes, yes. This is such an immoral way to use power. But Sen. Manchin still has a chance to say yes to the people.” 

Other speakers include: poor and low-income people such as Kaylen Payne Barker, a mother and low-wage worker who must couch surf for spare change to pay for gas despite having a master’s degree; Amy Jo Hutchison, a working mother of two; India Frith of the Black Voter Impact Initiative; Stewart Acuff, an activist in the Rockwool plant fight, and Mavery Davis of Charleston.

Faith leaders include: David M. Fryson, pastor of the New First Baptist Church of Kanawha City in Charleston, West Virginia, and the recently retired founding vice president of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for West Virginia University in Morgantown; Rev. Matthew Watts, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Charleston; Father Lark Munsee of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Kermit, West Virginia, and Rev. Roberta Smith, president of the Charleston Black Ministerial Alliance Inc. 

The revival and rally follow a PPC:NCMR news conference for the Institute for Policy Studies released figures showing how Sen. Manchin’s proposed cuts to Build Back Better hurt West Virginians. 

Manchin wants to cut the Build Back Better plan from $3.5 trillion over 10 years to $1.5 trillion. But he doesn’t talk about the economic hurt that will cause to his own constituents. 

The PPC:NCMR, however, is focused on the people who would benefit. For example, the Institute for Policy Studies says the Biden version of the plan would create 17,290 new jobs, compared to the 7,410 jobs created under Manchin’s plan. 

“We in the Poor People’s Campaign — poor people, low-wage workers, essential workers, people of faith, advocates with a moral conscience — are tired of being pawns in a political game where we get hurt while the greedy and corrupt corporations get wealthier and wealthier,” Rev. Theoharis said at a news conference Friday. “We can’t afford a compromise. We can’t afford half of a democracy. We need to stop asking “How much does a bold Build Back Better agenda cost?” and instead ask, “How much does it cost in lives and hurt not to Build Back Better?” 

Some 140 million Americans are poor or low-income in the U.S., including 710,000 of West Virginians — or 40%. And these people have power at the ballot box. According to a study released last week by the PPC:NCMR, poor and low-income people accounted for 50% of the electorate in the 2020 presidential election in West Virginia. 

According to data from the Institute of Policy Studies that was released Friday, the original version of the bill would benefit 121,000 veterans; paid medical and family leave for 88,050 West Virginia residents; and lift 23,000 West Virginia children out of poverty. 

Also on Sunday, the PPC:NCMR will publish full-page and digital ads in four West Virginia newspapers. 

The ads will appear in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Herald-Dispatch (Huntington), The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and the Journal (Martinsburg). They call attention to how Build Back Better will help West Virginians and how Sen. Manchin’s proposed cuts will harm them.