2020 March on Washington

Scheduled for June 20

Lisa Fitch Editor | 1/16/2020, midnight

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called for a “revolution of values” in America. He and his fellow leaders sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country:

This year, on June 20, the Poor People’s Campaign 2020 is holding a march on Washington D.C. Calling itself “A National Call for Moral Revival,” the Poor People’s Campaign believes it is picking up King’s unfinished work.

“We have the power to reshape the political atmosphere,” said. Dr. William J. Barber during a recent phone conference with members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. “If Poor and low-wealth people are organized and politicized, they can fundamentally shift the politics of this nation.”

Barber noted that poverty and racism have been ignored during the Democratic political debates.

“We can’t have that kind of conversation, those debates about this nation and be dead silent on poverty and racism,” Barber said. “We’ve had a whole lot of loudness on the wrong things.”

The campaign believes that it can shed light on the realities of poverty through marches it has been conducting on state capitols and the large march planned for Washington D.C. The organization has conducted audits and has developed a list of demands which have been delivered in several states.

They asked members of the Trump administration to meet, but have yet to get a response. Barber says that although the administration believes the economy to be great shape, its current policies specifically harm poor communities.

“What is happening on Wall Street is not what’s happening on our streets,” Barber said. “They’ve declared that the war on poverty is over, when it is actually, in many ways, getting worse.”

According to Barber, more than 66 million Whites are poor, nearly 30 percent of that population—while 26 million Blacks, 61 percent of the race, is poor.

“They can buy unleaded gas, but they can’t buy unleaded water,” Barber said, adding that 30 million people are without healthcare “They are being paid poverty wages, while CEOs make millions. And several live in their cars and go to work every day.”

The campaign has conducted an audit on what they call “five interlocking injustices:” Systemic racism; poverty; ecological devastation; the war economy/militarism; and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

The Poor People’s Campaign is mobilizing, organizing and registering people to vote across the nation. Their website states: “We rise to demand that the 140 million poor and low-wealth people in our nation -- from every race, creed color, sexuality and place -- are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda.”

For more information about the campaign and this summer’s march, visit https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org.

The June march is set to highlight the diversity of the poor, put a face to poverty and put their agenda before the nation. All seem a reflection of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” held in August of 1963, when Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

“As television beamed the image of this extraordinary gathering across the border oceans, everyone who believed in man’s capacity to better himself had a moment of inspiration and confidence in the future of the human race,” King said after the 1963 event.