Week thirty-FOUR  
Addressing Poverty:
The Poor People's Campaign

By 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) believed there were major achievements in the battle for civil rights stunted by poor living conditions that many African Americans systemically endured. In the summer of 1967, Dr. King visited Marks, MS, one of the poorest areas in the country, and decided it was time for a national poor people's movement. It was time for America to acknowledge the plight of the poor and for the U.S. government to take action. Dr. King and the SCLC announced the Poor People's Campaign on December 4, 1967. Thousands caravanned by mule and train to Washington to stand for equal employment, fair wages and to create an economic Bill of Rights.

Photo: Economic and Social Bill of Rights; February 6, 1968 

Weeks before the campaign was to begin, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, TN, while lending support to the city's striking sanitation workers. Rev. Ralph Abernathy, James Bevel and Jesse Jackson vowed to continue Dr. King's mission and attracted close to 100,000 demonstrators between May and June 1968. Due to minor media coverage, Dr. King's absence and days of heavy rain, the encampment of tents on the National Mall, known as Resurrection City, was washed away and the Poor People's Campaign was over.
Today, poverty is still a huge issue and leaders such as Rev. Dr. William Barber, Liz Theoharis and Rev. Dr. James Forbes are uniting to revive the Poor People's Campaign to carry on Dr. King's unfinished work. Barber and other leaders announced on December 4, 2017 via a Facebook live video, the New Poor People's Campaign, the call for a "Moral Revival." Below, watch the Laura Flander's Show interview of Rev. Dr. William Barber on the start of Moral Monday's and its mission and goals.        

So many of the injustices that Dr. King targeted in the 1968 Poor People's Campaign are still unresolved today. The New Poor People's Campaign is uniting communities from across the nation. You too can take action. Get involved in the movement to drive out inequality and build a successful economic and justice system. You can start with implementing some of our action items below.                                                                                                

Wipe Out Poverty! 
  1. Attend the next Moral Mondays in Memphis on January 22, and be involved in what the New Poor People's Campaign is doing to combat poverty in your community. For more information and registration, click here
  2. If you are unable to attend the Moral Monday's in Memphis on January 22, you can catch it live-streamed on our website
  3. Find out more about the New Poor People's Campaign and how you can contribute. 
  4. Locate organizations in your city whose mission is helping families and people who've lost financially stability to get back on their feet by volunteering your time & services to help them. You can start with these list of 99 Great Organizations Confronting Poverty & Hunger and find some where you reside. 

Make 2018 Your Year of Service! 

(For Families)

Dr. King was an upstander, who believed in equal rights for all people. In 1967, he began a Poor People's Campaign to stand up for the rights of people without enough money for food and a decent place to live. Today, there are still many people that cannot provide themselves with basic needs that most people take for granted.
Make a New Year's resolution for 2018 to share with people that are in need, whenever you can. With this resolution, you can help people in your community and keep Dr. King's work going, through your good deeds.   
During the winter months, remember that there are people without shelter to keep them warm. They rely on the kindness and the service of others to help them find safe shelter, clothes, and food. Here are a few ideas to get you started serving people in your community:

  • Get together with family or friends and volunteer at a homeless shelter or a soup kitchen. Visit Make-A-Wish to find a local soup kitchen that you and your family or friends can volunteer at this winter. 

  • Take food from your home or a restaurant and give it to someone who looks like they may be without a home to a warm meal.  Bring an adult with you when you deliver food. Remember to bring a fork and a napkin, too. (Restaurants usually give away plastic sets if you order food to-go or if you ask for them.) 
  • Give away gently used blankets to peoplein need.* If you buy a fleece, you can make new blankets. Click here for instructions. If you see people are sleeping on the street, they could use those blankets to stay warm.  

  • Gather cold weather gear such as coats, hats, scarves, gloves and socks and donate them to a homeless shelter or to people in need.* If a parent can go with you, collect from people in your community. You could also ask your teacher or school principal if you can set up a coat donation box at your school.

*The best way to tell if someone is in need, is if they have a sign which says they are without a home or if they ask for money or food. You may also see them sleeping outside.
Try any one of these activities or try to accomplish them all in 2018! Step up your community service game by playing  Service-Over-Self Bingo with friends or family. Click the link below to print off your bingo card. Set a goal of completing a card every month. Each time you complete a card, plan something fun as a reward for your efforts. Post pictures of your completed cards on our Facebook page to share how you serves your fellow man



How do you give back to combat poverty and make a difference
Help someone help another. 
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