As the nation commemorates the fifty years that have passed since the height of the Civil Rights struggle that marked the 1960s as a time of historic progress in U.S. history, a diverse coalition of advocacy groups, faith-based organizations, and prominent justice and anti-poverty activists are joining forces to endorse the idea of a new broad-based movement to tackle the ills of racial discrimination, ecological degradation, and economic inequality that persist in contemporary society.
Borrowing the name of the well-known and anti-poverty and social justice campaign initiated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1968, this new coalition is voicing support for what they call a ‘New Poor People’s Campaign’ which will aim to fight back against a range of inter-connected societal ills — including “an unfair police and prison system, cuts to public education, the denial of Medicaid expansion, unsafe working conditions and unfair wages, ecological devastation and the dangerous pollution of their communities, and renewed attacks on voting rights.”
With the attention of the nation turned to the events that took place in Selma fifty years ago this weekend, delegates from this new coalition also converged in the Alabama city to discuss their new vision for a revitalized mass movement. The various and diverse organizations endorsing the project can be found on the campaign’s website. Though most are based in the U.S., the vision for the campaign extends beyond national borders and hopes to foster allies from across the globe.
The campaign produced this video seeks to explain why business-as-usual is no longer acceptable in the richest nation on Earth which allows 50 millions of its citizens to live in poverty:
Additionally, in this statement of purpose posted to their website, the campaign organizers explain:
In a second video, leaders of the coalition’s member organizations explained why this ‘new poor people’s campaign’ is so desperately needed:
The ‘New Poor People’s Campaign’ is asking people to get involved by checking out their website, which offers various ways to explore their ideas and engage with the proposed agenda.
According to the project organizers, “A lesson learned from history is that a campaign on the scale called for by the current crisis cannot be launched by, or belong to, a few leaders or organizations. What is needed is a movement that reflects the needs, concerns, experiences, and demands of the diverse struggles taking place in communities large and small across the country and around the globe. To build such a campaign, we need to unite. We need to strengthen our connections and sharpen our understanding of the problems we face.”
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