Labor unions, religious organizations, faith and civic rights leaders, The Women’s March and numerous celebrities will gather virtually Saturday (June 20) for “The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.”
The campaign is a “movement of tens of thousands of people across the country who are organizing to end the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, militarism and the war economy, ecological devastation, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism,” according to the organization’s website.
The event will be live streamed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST) Saturday (June 20) and Sunday (June 21). MSNBC will live stream. RadioOne will air on all of its stations and other local and national media have partnered as well.
The event mirrors the goals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s planned Poor People’s Campaign, which was derailed when he was assassinated in Memphis while helping the city’s striking sanitation workers.
Plans for this weekend’s event hit a major stumbling block when the COVID-19 pandemic caused major events to be canceled or postponed.
“COVID-19 is highly contagious, and all that planning we did for (for the scheduled) June 30 date was wasted, I thought,” said Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, executive director of the organization. “But I began to consider the possibilities.”
Jackson said Saturday’s event potentially could host millions of participants across the globe.
“This is our time. This is the moment,” Jackson said.
“There are 140 million people living in poverty in the United States. That’s nearly half of this country’s population. Our virtual, mass March on Washington is a call to action that must be answered.”
The online confab will feature artists, politicians and celebrities, but they only will be introducing ordinary people who will talk about their struggles through poverty, a pandemic and protests for racial justice.
Jackson said hundreds of mobilizing partners will participate, including14 national labor unions, 16 national religious organizations, civil rights organizations, faith leaders, The Women’s March, and 350.org., an “international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.”
Some of the participating celebrity allies are Jane Fonda, Wanda Sykes, Erika Alexander, David Oyelowo, Debra Messing, Joan Baez, Erika Alexander and former Vice President Al Gore.
They will speak as advocates of the campaign.
However, the real “stars” of the event are those who will give personal testimonies, Jackson said.
Dr. Bernice King, youngest daughter of the civil rights icon, recorded a special message for the event.
“We are picking up the mantle again after 57 years,” Jackson said. “When Dr. William Barber called and asked me to come and help a year and a half ago, I knew it was the call of God.
“The legacy of Dr. King lives on in this peaceful, broad-based social justice movement. This is a history-making, transformative moment in time.”