Poor People’s Campaign: Moral Mondays

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

“Moral Mondays” Event June 18th in Montpelier

The Poor People’s Campaign is based on the work begun by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fifty years ago to change the ethics and values of our nation. Vermont’s campaign is one of 37 taking part in “Moral Mondays” nationwide for 6 weeks in May and June.

The core of each Moral Monday event is a rally that takes place at 2:00 PM on the Vermont State House steps.  People are invited to come at 10:00 AM if they would like to be more involved.  After the rally there is a symbolic march into the State House to support participants who have been trained in nonviolence who stage a peaceful sit-in, expecting to be arrested as a form of protest.

The United Church of Strafford Mission Committee urges you to attend whatever part of these Moral Monday events you can.

Jesus and the Hebrew prophets call us to serve and lift up people who are poor. The Poor People’s Campaign addresses poverty and three issues that have a disproportionate negative impact on it: racism; the size of the military budget (which makes funds unavailable for social uplift and assistance); and ecological devastation (to which the poor are particularly vulnerable because of being forced to live and work in marginal places and having no safety net).

This campaign hopes to pass legislation to improve those conditions, but even more it aims to change the consciousness of our society to a higher level of compassion and Christ-like love.  The campaign calls it a “moral revival” or a “change in narrative.”  The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it a “revolution of values.”  Gus Speth calls it “the rise of a new consciousness.”

The United Church of Christ and many other denominations are partner organizations of the Poor People’s Campaign.  (See the article below.)  Please support the Campaign in whatever way feels right to you, and spread the word.

You can see an interview with the Rev. William Barber, one of the co-leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, with Bishop Michael Curry who preached the philosophy of the Campaign at the recent royal wedding at https://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/bishop-michael-curry-and-rev-william-barber-on-poor-people-s-campaign-1242573379703

From the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ newsletter:

But let justice roll down like waters, 
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos 5:24

On Monday, May 21, 2018, Two VT UCC pastors, the Rev. Elisa Lucozzi and the Rev. Judy Waible, were arrested at the Vermont State House while gathering in the State House to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

The Poor People’s Campaign is based on the work begun by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fifty years ago to change the moral narrative of our nation. Vermont’s campaign is one of 37 state’s PPC’s organizations taking part on Moral Mondays throughout our nation for 6 weeks in May and June. (Actually 5 Monday’s and 1 Tuesday (Memorial Day is omitted).

The primary narratives we would like to change regard Poverty, Racism, a Military Economy, and Ecological Devastation.

Participants gather at 10:00 a.m. to meet one another and discuss the agenda for the day. We address issues of purpose, safety, responsibilities and sharing the load.

At around noon, we often dine at the UU’s weekly church luncheon where we meet locals, some of whom are folks directly confronting these issues in their lives.

At 1:00 we regather to finalize responsibilities and clarify any questions.

At 2:00 p.m. we host a rally on the State House steps where speakers relay why or how these justice issues concern them. We learn chants and sing songs to address our thoughts and feelings about the need for change.

At 3:00 p.m. we begin an action to focus our concerns for the day. Last week we blocked State Street for a period of time. This week we entered and refused to leave the State House. Fourteen individuals were arrested.

Other UCC clergy present at the event were the Rev. Dr. Ed Sunday-Winters, the Rev. Dr. Arnold Thomas, the Rev. Rona Kinsley, and the Rev Elissa Johnk. While I cannot be certain about the denomination of each lay person, I am grateful for the support of Judy Dunnan and Roger Waible of the Greensboro UCC who performed peacekeeping, chanting, and keepers of belongings responsibilities {for those providing the moral witness) this week and for Roseanne Hebert who is working as our street medic using her RN skills directly with and for the people.

Please join us in this effort to revive the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through the work of The Rev. Dr. William Barber and his and our associates who believe that more than passing a particular bill we need to transform the narrative of a country obsessed with wealth and belongings to a country whose narrative is focused on freeing and sharing and transforming lives for the betterment of the individual, the nation and the world.


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