On December 5th, 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference announced plans for a Poor People’s Campaign. The Campaign aimed to bring poor people together from all across the country and from all racial and ethnic backgrounds in order to build up a new and unsettling force that could lead the fight against racism, militarism, and economic exploitation It was the Poor People’s Campaign that the Rev. Dr. King was working on when he chose to speak out against the Vietnam War.
Exactly one year before his assassination, on April 4th, 1967, King called all people of conscience to “break the silence” and declare war an enemy of the poor. Dr. King stated that “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth....A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation’s distorted morality. The PPC:NCMR is taking part in this day of creative action because we recognize the power of artistic expression to create the language and space we need to imagine and enact a true revolution of values that can move us toward a “radical redistribution of economic and political power,” and “a change of the whole structure of American life.”
Recommended action for #RevolutionOfValues
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is launching a season of nonviolent direct action that will begin on Mother’s Day. Demanding elected leaders at all levels of government adopt an agenda that confronts systemic racism and lifts up the poor, thousands of poor and disenfranchised people, clergy and moral leaders in 32 states and Washington, D.C. will engage in 40 days of moral direct action. Arts and culture will be a pivotal part of the campaign and state arts and culture committees are being formed. Sign up to join your state chapter today.
On this national day of action, we asking people to share at least one of the following cultural resources at your local art builds and events to get ready for the 40 Days of Moral Action:
Singing together is foundational to this movement: Learn and teach one of the following PPC:NCMR songs:
Poor People’s Campaign Video
As different communities across the U.S. confront the forces that inflict great misery on human life and dignity, a clear moral and religious truth is also emerging. The people and struggles that make up the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival are providing profound religious and moral insight into who we are and who we can be as people and as a society. This episode of America Will Be: The Spirit of Struggle shares some of the deep religious and spiritual insights emerging out of this movement that help guide the struggle.
Produced by filmmaker Dara Kell and the Kairos Center for the#PoorPeoplesCampaign.
We are asking people to think about why we need a new Poor People’s Campaign in this moment. How do we move from talking about unity to building real unity? How can our creative imagining help us envision this possibility? We encourage people to share their reflections in the form of song, spoken word, and visual imagery.
To join the movement: Text MORAL to 90975