The Pandemic Has Made the Poor People’s Campaign Virtual—and Vital

The Pandemic Has Made the Poor People’s Campaign Virtual—and Vital

The Pandemic Has Made the Poor People’s Campaign Virtual—and Vital

A powerful movement—and a moral leader whose time has come—will mobilize millions to demand change.


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Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable. May we have the necessary righteous indignation in this moment to fight for transformation.” Those words were part of a prayer that the Rev. William J. Barber II offered last week to a virtual meeting for readers of The Nation magazine (where I am publisher and editorial director). With his deep baritone, Barber’s moral clarity cut through the distance of the Internet. As the human toll reaped by the pandemic and the deepening economic depression grows, the call for fundamental change—for a new New Deal—gets louder. Whether we can summon up the vision and the leadership for that remains uncertain. What is clear is that Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign that he and his colleagues have been mobilizing over the past two years will galvanize a movement.<

More than two years ago, Barber took on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 call for a “revolution of values” in America and revived King’s effort to build a poor people’s campaign across lines of race, religion, and region. Long before the current catastrophe, the Poor People’s Campaign was challenging the “interlocking evils” of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism, and “the distorted moral narrative” of religious nationalism.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

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