Honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On December 4, 1967 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.announced plans for a Poor People’s Campaign. He called for transformative actions to end poverty. Despite his assassination and deep divisions in the country and movement, the mobilization of poor people continued.
Today we are experiencing poverty and hardship in the midst of unprecedented abundance and record inequality. In the United States, at least 46.5 million people, including 1 of every 5 children, live in poverty. Another 97.3 million are officially designated as low income. This means that nearly one in every two people is poor or low income with most others only an economic or health setback from joining them. Meanwhile, racial and gender inequality remain as deep as ever.
History has shown that a powerful movement requires the involvement and support of all people with an interest in a radically different society—which means nearly everyone. Not only are the poor increasingly drawn from every sector of society, but even those who feel economically secure see that mass poverty and economic hardship amidst such wealth and productive power violates our most sacred values.
2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign launched by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—his last, and in profound ways most far reaching and challenging, campaign. It is important to honor the anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign. Given the conditions of poverty, inequality and injustice we face today, the only genuine way to commemorate the past struggle is to launch a new one.