This year's Poor People's Campaign is a revival of the one started by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. In December 1967, Rev. Dr. King announced the plan to bring together poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington. This march was to demand better jobs, better homes, better education—better lives than the ones they were living.
Today's campaign is the brainchild of two community activists — the Rev. Liz Theoharis of New York and the Rev. William J. Barber II of North Carolina. They described the effort as a “national call for moral revival” that would include “40 days of moral action.” Events are talking place in 33 states and culminate June 23 in with a Call to Action Mass Rally in Washington, D.C.
In support of the Poor People's Campaign, statewide groups like OWR have been at the Capitol Square in Madison every Monday since May 14.
Doing a light projection for the Poor People's Campaign is one small thing OWR-Dane members have done, in addition to attending rallies. And as our member Brian learned, being on the Capitol Square at night in the summer is also a reminder of the vast inequalities that exist in our city. Here is his account of what it was like:
Earlier this evening Russ, Lee, and myself met on Capitol Square to draw some attention to the Poor People's Campaign Russ came equipped with a spot projector with image slides provided by the Backbone Campaign. These images were projected in a couple locations, you may recognize, while I snapped pics.
We definitely have a beautiful capitol and square surrounding it and it made a great backdrop for our statement tonight. A very sobering moment was when we were packing up and I turned 90 degrees to my left (now note that I had not moved from the location where I was taking pictures and only turned to my left) when I viewed at least 10 homeless that were bedding down for the night next to the Veterans Museum. Many with an assortment of blankets and sleeping bags and personal belongings.
And to top this off, as I walked by the Veteran's Museum to go to my car a young woman with a child of about 6 or 7 who had been watching us with the projector and taking pictures, asked "Are you doing this for us?" Talk about being dumbstruck and at a loss for words. After a moment I said, "Yes, we're trying to get people to pay attention to the injustice that's happening." I invited her to the PPC rally this Monday and asked her to bring friends. Things are just not right, and I'm glad to be working with people trying to change this.