50 Years Later: The New Poor People’s Campaign

A series of nationwide acts of civil disobedience kicked off today as part of the New Poor People’s Campaign, which will culminate in massive protest in Washington, D.C. June 23.

This week’s activities are focused on elevating awareness surrounding women, children, and those with disabilities living in poverty.

In 1967, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. announced the first Poor People’s Campaign, which was launched in 1968.

King recognized that there needed to be a “change of consciousness” in the United States in order to generate the social support needed to lift millions of Americans out of poverty.

“Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses … We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read one day: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists … We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that is signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic non-violent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Poor People’s Campaign of 2018 seeks to pick up where King left off, and is putting forth a progressive list of demands that call for socioeconomic and racial justice, and has been divided into six weeks of focused action:

  • Week One (May 13-19): “Somebody’s Hurting Our People” — Children, Women, and People with Disabilities in Poverty
  • Week Two (May 20-26): “Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty” — Voting Rights, Immigration, Xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the Mistreatment of Indigenous Communities
  • Week Three (May 27 – June 2): “The War Economy” — Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence
  • Week Four (June 3-9): “The Right to Health and a Healthy Planet” — Ecological Devastation and Health Care
  • Week Five (June 10-16): “Everybody’s Got the Right to Live” — Education, Living Wage Jobs, Income, Housing
  • Week Six (June 17-22): “A New and Unsettling Force” — Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative
  • June 23 — Global Day of Solidarity and Sending Forth Call to Action Mass Rally in Washington, D.C.

More than 120 different groups and organizations have endorsed and or partnered with the campaign, including 350.org, Advocates for Youth, Center for Popular Democracy, CODEPINK, Food and Water Watch, and Muslim Peace Fellowship.


To get involved with the New Poor People’s Campaign, click here.

To find ongoing actions and events near you, click here.

To donate to the campaign, click here.

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