Since mid-May, thousands of people have been rallying for policies to dismantle systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental degradation. It’s called the Poor People’s Campaign, A national call for moral revival, and the vision was laid down by Dr. Martin luther King 50 years ago.
The call is for all of us to join 40 days of nonviolent moral action, and on June 3, the campaign will focus a week of action on “The Right to Health and a Healthy Planet.” Already, actions have been happening weekly outside of 35 state capitals and Washington, D.C. Thousands have shown up already, and hundreds have been arrested, Including me – Last month, I was arrested in an act of civil disobedience with the Poor People’s Campaign alongside more than a dozen neighbors, clergy, and friends in my home state of South Carolina.
You don’t need to risk arrest, but there is training and support available for those who want or feel called to do so. All most states ask is that you RSVP and attend a short training on the morning before. Click here to learn more:
There are lots of good reasons to get involved with the Poor People’s Campaign. Their call for justice on behalf of people and the planet is powerful, and it’s clearly catching on. And in a time when climate-fueled weather events from hurricanes to wildfires threaten more communities than ever, it’s always poor people, communities of color and the disenfranchised who are ht first and worst.
Just last week news broke that independent medical examiners determined that the official death toll in Puerto Rico from hurricanes Maria was closer to 4600, not the 64 fatalities Trump and his team have reported. It’s an outrage that has everything to do with our nation (and Puerto Rico, in particular)’s dependance on fossil fuels. And it’s a story that clearly connects the dots between Trump’s racism, climate denial, and the disastrous consequences born by our neighbors – especially those who are poor, brown, or dispossessed.
But instead of igniting a moral call to action to make sure there are no more Climate fatalities on US soil, the media overwhelmingly focussed on a racist tweet from Roseanne Barr.
I’m not saying this just to knock cable news and the main stream media. But it’s an indication that there’s something sick and wrong with our political discourse. I don’t know if sitting down in the street and getting arrested will change it or heal our political discourse. But Dr. King hoped so; In 1967 he said “People ought to come to Washington, sit down if necessary in the middle of the street and say, ‘We are here; we are poor; we don’t have any money; you have made us this way … and we’ve come to stay until you do something about it.'”
When I was arrested a few weeks ago, I was standing right next to a local reverend who was part of the civil right’s movement in the 60s. A few yards to my left, young people from a neighboring town who cared about climate justice, immigrant rights and more were also arrested standing for their principles. Every Monday for the last three weeks people of conscience have shown up for justice. On Monday, they show up for the health of our people and planet.
If you’re ready to answer Dr. King’s call 50 years later – if you’re ready to show up, sit in, speak out and make your presence known for climate justice – there’s never been a better time than this Monday June 4. Click here to find the nearest Poor People’s Campaign Action, and sign up to join them on Monday.