Throughout history, people in power have employed racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression as part of divide-and-conquer strategies to keep the poor and dispossessed deeply divided. On top of this, many of our immediate struggles today are put in situations where we’re constantly competing for funds and attention, which makes it difficult to devote time and energy to confronting our common opposition. This opposition, on the other hand, is fierce, sophisticated, and well-resourced.
A campaign on the scale needed to overcome centuries of misinformation and division and to unsettle the powerful systems we are up against cannot be launched by, or belong to, a few leaders or organizations. What is needed is a movement that reflects the needs, concerns, experiences and demands of the many diverse struggles taking place in communities, states and regions across the country.
We think the first step has to be getting to know and learn from each other’s struggles. Everywhere, there are unsung saints in the trenches fighting back every way we can. In big cities, small towns, and rural areas; in churches and other religious communities, in schools, labor organizations, and community groups all over the country and the world, the poor and dispossessed are already taking action to put the absolute sacredness of human life at the center of our society. Too often, however, we just don’t know about each other – the victories of all kinds that we’re celebrating, the losses that we’re facing, and maybe most importantly, the reality of just how much we have in common. If we’re able to overcome our isolation, we can strengthen and begin to unite our different struggles.
As a part of this first phase of building a new Poor People’s Campaign, there are a number of ways to begin building the trust and unity we need to move forward:
- Tell us about the struggles your community is facing and the battles you’re waging. Email us at [email protected] and let us know what you think about the Poor People’s Campaign and share any ideas you have about how to move forward in this first phase.
- Endorse the call for a new Poor People’s Campaign for today. Individual and organizational endorsements for the call help demonstrate the broad support that’s building for this effort. Click here to endorse.
- Help spread the word about the call for a new Poor People’s Campaign for today. Share this website and talk to other members of your group and other leaders and organizations you’re connected to and find out what they think about this idea, and how it could relate to the work they’re already doing. You can find a one-page concept paper to share with others here.
- Join the national Poor People’s Campaign organizing calls. As a way for people and organizations interested in building a new Poor People’s Campaign for today to start to connect, we’re organizing monthly calls. They usually highlight particular struggles and communities, and are a good way of learning more about the battles playing out across the country. Some past calls have focused on the situation in the Gulf Coast with the aftermath of Katrina and the BP Oil Spill, the water shut-off crisis in Detroit, and the campaigns being waged in different states to make healthcare a human right. Please join us for the next one! Email [email protected] for more details.