Barber, along with other moral leaders, are taking a page from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s playbook. King’s monumental campaign for poor people, announced in December 1967, was billed as a visionary initiative. The campaign was a tool for mobilization for disadvantaged individuals across racial and geographic boundaries. Tragically, however, the assassination of King cut short the promising campaign in early 1968.
Now, Barber, a former North Carolina NAACP leader who rose to prominence behind the Moral Mondays movement, is drawing inspiration from the campaign 50 years after King’s dream was brought to consciousness. The modern-day Poor People’s campaign, helmed by co-chairs Barber and the Rev. Liz Theoharis, will cover multiple issues and be “multiracial,” said the two faith leaders to the press in Washington, DC Monday, The Nation reported.
“[The goal of the new Poor People’s Campaign is to] consecrate a new movement to transform the political, economic, and moral structures of society,” Barber said.
The duo has held mass meetings and strategy sessions in 15 cities in efforts to organize mobilizations in the spring of 2018. The plan is to orchestrate 40 days of concentrated episodes of civil disobedience in at least 25 states, but drawing power from the same revolutionary spirit that emboldened King and the SCLC decades ago.
King, who once denounced profit over people, knew a tide needed to turn in the nation when it came to collective values. Barber echoed those sentiments.
The horrors of racism and economic injustice are still haunting America today, and have arguably become more infested into our nation’s framework more than ever now. Trump’s election has seemingly put equality into a tighter stranglehold.
“Even before the election of Donald Trump, the evils of poverty, racism, militarism, and environmental destruction were tearing apart the social fabric in America,” Theoharis said.
The civil disobedience days, beginning on Mother’s Day 2018 will first address child poverty, with following weeks to cover specific policy goals and other concerns, according to the News & Observer. Estimates of tens of thousands of poor and disenfranchised people, clergy, and other national leaders will join forces for a collective demonstration at the U.S. Capitol in June.