Peace and Justice Summit: Faith

♪ We who believe in freedom cannot rest we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes. We who believe in freedom cannot rest. We who believe in freedom cannot rest
until it comes. ♪ In Hawaiian culture and folklore rain is
seen as a sign of favor and blessing because the earth and the people who
inhabit it cannot exist without its abundance so good afternoon my sisters
and brothers my name is Father Manuel Williams. How wonderful it is that our
gracious creator has called us all together in these days to celebrate, to
commemorate, to memorialize, to energize and to recommit our hearts and our hands
to doing the deeds of justice for the last 28 years it has been my joy and
privilege to serve as pastor and mission director of Resurrection Catholic
Missions here in Montgomery and as a servant leader it has been my awesome
responsibility to call that community of faith to be a community of service, a
community forming disciples in both personal and social holiness in an age
when the great monotheistic faiths are challenged by theologies that can only
best be described as deviant would seek to turn the values of justice and
fairness equality and compassion on their heads. We need now as much as ever
believers and people of goodwill who will speak truth to power who will
proclaim a word of life, a word of righteousness of freedom and dignity and
equality of persons and opportunities for every human being. Sisters and
brothers we are privileged today to have in our presence a champion of the values
of the kingdom. He is a scholar, he is a pastor, he is a political activist, he is
a practical and an academic theologian, he is a speaker of truth and dare I say
it, he is a prophet of peace and justice, holding degrees in political science
from North Carolina Central University, degree in divinity from Duke University
and a doctorate in public policy and pastoral care from Drew University. Our
speaker has led a powerful movement of moral Mondays challenging repressive and
racialized policies of North Carolina and those that movement serves as a
catalyst and a model for the resistance across our country. He is an awardee of
the highest honors presented by his state, by the NAACP,
by numerous other service and advocacy organizations and institutions of higher
learning. Reverend Dr. William Barber has emerged as a powerful, poetic, strategic
advocate for the building of the beloved community. In his second book, The Third
Reconstruction, Dr. Barber notes that for years he heard
people in his native places saying that they were going to go hope somebody. Some
of you recognize that phrase, the use of hope rather than the use of the word
help. He writes in the book that later he came to understand and to realize that
this was not a grammatical error but rather it was an endemic theological
statement because that is the task of every believer, the task of every person
of goodwill to hope to give hope by doing acts of justice. And so brothers
and sisters, it is my distinct honor to present to you a servant of God who in
his ministry helps to give us all hope so that we can make this earthly city
more closely resemble the heavenly city that so many of us say we aspire to,
Reverend Dr. William Barber. ♪ Hold on just a little while longer, hold
on just a little while longer, hold on just a little while longer, I know justice he’s coming real soon. Pray on just a little while longer. Pray on just a little while
longer. Oh pray on, just a little while longer. I know justice is coming real soon.
Fight on just a little while longer. Fight on just a little while longer. Oh fight on just a little while longer. I know justice
he’s coming real soon. Children we gotta stand on stand on a
little while longer. Plant your feet and stand on just a little while longer, oh stand on just a little while longer ’cause I know justice he’s coming real soon. I know justice he’s coming real soon,
yes I know justice he’s coming real soon. ♪ It’s against the common good and what we need to be asking of all of our
leaders with all of these policies is not is it the left position or the right
position but is it constitutionally consistent is it morally defensible and
is it economically sane. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican but Teddy
Roosevelt wanted universal healthcare. Teddy Roosevelt wanted the minimum wage.
Teddy Roosevelt wanted to protect the environment. Teddy Roosevelt supported
public education. Teddy Roosevelt said we need to get out money out of politics.
Teddy Roosevelt supported raising the minimum wage. What we have in this country is extremism that has hijacked parties. We have heart problem! We can’t give up on the heart of our
democracy not now not ever. Moral dissenters must stand up again
today not just in our sanctuaries of safety but we must carry the sanctuary
into the public square. Hallelujah! By the glory, revive us again. Hello. Thank you so much gracious and eternal
God we thank you for the way over which you have brought us we know whenever you
ask any human being to do anything in your name for the cause of justice and
love you take the risk of putting treasure in trash, treasure in an
earthen vessel that the excellency of the power might be of thee and not of us.
Hold us and hide us, keep us and use us, come Holy Spirit come. Amen.
I am beyond humble to have the opportunity to share at this opening of
this museum, this critical moment in history, for Aya and Bryan Stevens and
just thank God for even that you all will consider a country boy from a
little place called Free Union and I know part of the reason you all they
invited me was kind of like the man who put his mule, is that Mike
down there, his mule in the Kentucky Derby and he paid a ten thousand dollar entry
fee and the mule was sway back and somebody looked at him said well why
would you do that you know he’s not gonna win and he said well I know he’s
not gonna win but maybe the exposure we’re doing some good. There’s a certain solemness standing
here today and just leaving Arizona meeting with the Apache nations that are
joining in with the Poor People’s Campaign and others. There’s a quietness in my spirit
as I think about those containers of dirt and I want to talk a little bit
today about memorializing those who were lynched then and building a movement
against lynching now. There is this reality that exists in the annals of
American history called lynching not hanging, we never should
call it hanging but lynching, not capital punishment,
Scott, lynching. Black people, men and women and children were lynched not hung.
The goal of lynching was always to instill fear. Lynching was a tool of the
powerful racists who believe that any access to power and freedom by black
people and any coalition of black and white working and poor people that could
transform the south had to be stopped because it is true it was true then it’s
true now you change the South you change the nation. They saw any coalition as a threat to
the power and the livelihood that the white racist aristocracy had in the
south and its control over the nation. Dr. King when he marched with others
from Selma to Montgomery on the steps of the Alabama State House gave what I
think is probably his most powerful speech second only to the one about
Vietnam that most people never even quote from and in that speech he spent
about 15 minutes at the end of that march talking about the intentional way
in which white racists aristocrat in the south always sought to divide black
and white power anytime there was the possibility of a white black unity among
poor whites and poor blacks that could in fact shift the political demographics.
He talked about it in such what you ought to read it because if you read it
then you will understand what Nell Painter has said and that is that the
current resident of the White House is the iconography of a very common
American experience. The last election is not the first time we’ve seen racism and
division being used to hijack the American political system. Dr. King
spent time almost in a professorial mode on the steps of the capital talking
about this. He also laid out that lynching was a part of a whole set of
tools, brother Gore. It was scapegoating was used and tax cuts were always used
and and undermining voter suppression undermine Voting Rights were always used
to undermine any effort that might bring black and white people together in the
south and lynching was a key cornerstone of the fear
and this was done even in the Bible Belt where so many people put their hand on
the Bible but don’t know what’s in it. Well so many people some of my so-called
Christian evangelicals I have trouble with that because I’m an evangelical who
say so much about what God says so little and so little about what God says
so much because the Word of God actually says something about lynching in
Proverbs 6 it says these are 6 things that the Lord hates, 7 that are an
abomination doesn’t say anything about being gay, doesn’t say God hates gay folk,
doesn’t say anything about abortion but it does say God hates a
hardy eyes proud look, looking down on people, God hates a lying tongue and God
hates hands that shed innocent blood. W.B. Du Bois wrote about this crisis and he
noted that constitutionally we don’t have any amendment to the Constitution
or any part of its original writing that outlawed lynching, think about that. Now
we do have in the Constitution an amendment that was put in to guarantee
slave patrols and white militias could have guns that’s called the Second
Amendment and it’s so sad now that an amendment that was put in the
Constitution to allow slave patrols to kill black folk is now being used in a
way that’s killing all of our children. There’s no constitutional provision
against lynching in the Constitution, none. W.B. Du Bois talking about lynchings said
the recent horrible lynchings in the United States even the almost incredible
burning of human beings alive have raised not a ripple of interest not a
single protest from the United States government, scarcely a word from the
pulpit and not a syllable of horror or suggestion from the defenders of the
Republic, the 100% Americans or the propagandists of the Army and the Navy.
This is Du Bois talking about lynching which is why he named that little
magazine the crisis and it wasn’t until 1920 that the first piece of federal
legislation was proposed and interestingly enough the legislator
that proposed it was Leonidas Dyer from Ferguson and after he proposed it
he was voted down and voted out. Ida B. Wells declared I’d rather go down in
history as one lone negro who dared to tell the government that had done a
dastardly thing and lynching than to save my skin by taking back what I said
Billy Holiday sang Southern trees bear strange fruit, blood on the leaves and
blood at the root, black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit
hanging from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant South the bulging
eyes and a twisted mouth, scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh the sudden
smell of burning flesh. Here is the fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather for the wind to suck for the sun to rock for the trees
to drop. Here is a strange and bitter crop. A white brother after reading Dr.
James Cone’s book The Cross and the Lynching Tree said this, he said, I felt
grief for nearly five for the nearly five thousand African-American men and
women and children who were lynched between 1830 and 1940 and anger that
during the 60-year Holocaust of lynching hardly any white preachers evangelists
and theologians didn’t note, didn’t noticed it. He said Cone says in his book Jesus was lynched, he makes the connection between
the crucifixion of Jesus and the lynching of African-Americans he
explains why understanding that connection is vital to understanding the
meaning of the cross. He says Jesus was an innocent victim of mob hysteria and
the Roman Imperial violence because the only people that were crucified were
revolutionaries those that dare to stand up to Caesar. Rome didn’t lynch Jesus
because even gonna save people from their sin, Rome lynched Jesus because Jesus
challenge Rome’s sin, the sin of injustice. Then Cone says both the cross and the
lynching tree were symbols of terror, instruments of torture and execution
reserved primarily for criminal insurrectionists both Jesus and blacks
were publicly humiliated subjected to the utmost indignity and cruelty. Now I’m
not suggesting that all that there weren’t others who were lynched there
were, but the overwhelming group of folk that were lynched in this country were black
men and women and children and the purpose was to strike terror that’s why
we never say of those that were lynched they were hung. Hung is to suggest it
was legal, hung suggested it was even I still would disagree with it as a form
of capital punishment but lynching is terror, it was to let people know that the
same thing would happen to them if they didn’t stay in their place. All of these
statements reminds us that lynching was political, it’s political murder. Its goal
was to terrorize the political aspirations of African-Americans and
their coalitions with black other people white and brown it was prescribed,
there’s no accident that it was prescribed to shut down black people and
particularly leaders that would stand up It was purposeful, it was meant
to depress political power and dehumanize people of African descent. One
writer put it like this, lynching is the practice of murder by extrajudicial
action said lynching in America rose in number after the American Civil War in
the late 1800s. It followed the emancipation of the slaves and the
message was for everybody swinging white supremacy rules and blacks must be
kept in a state of powerlessness. You know lynchings were photographed, they were
published on postcards, they were used as souvenirs. Victims were killed by mobs,
shot, hanged, burned and according to the Tuskegee Institute
3,446 African-American from 1880 to the 1960s and those there ones we know of.
Some were lynched and their bodies were buried deep in the mud of southern
swamps. A 2017 paper found that more the more that more racially segregated
counties were more likely to experience lynching. It also shows that blacks were
lynched particularly in counties where they presented economic competition such
as independent black farmers and business men and women. They were
sometimes lynched or they suffer the destruction of their property or both.
There’s history that white’s sometime lynched blacks for financial gain and
sometimes to establish political and economic dominance, these lynchings
emphasize a new social order and in fact these lynchings were a part of a movement
that sounds religious but it is deeply irreligious. It was called the redemption
movement and the goal of the redemption movement was to redeem America from the
pop how and possibility of black and white people working together. Lynchings
were done to create a sense of collective identity among whites as the
unequal social roles of whites and blacks were enforced, in much of the deep
South, lynchings peaked in the late 19th century and the 20th century as racists
turn to terrorism particularly to dissuade blacks from voting, from voting
One writer also says that lynching had a seasonal pattern for instance in the
Mississippi Delta lynchings were more frequent at the end of the year when
sharecroppers and tenant farmers tried to settle their accounts. In the 1890s
after American journalist and anti lynching crusader Ida B. Wells
conducted one of the first thorough investigation and and while we often
talk about rape the false accusation of rape which was one of the accusations
used, rape, false accusation of murder she says lynchings were used whenever
there was a false accusation that included verbal
and physical aggression. Some of the same stuff you hear cops today say when
they justify why they shot an unarmed. Oh, spirited business competition was a
reason for lynching and here’s one we’re lynching this person because of
their independence of mind. This is in the record,
they were so arrogant that they were right to step down. After the Civil War
nearly four million slaves were emancipated in the South and what the
problem with that was many of them constituted a majority in states. The Ku
Klux Klan founded in 1866 by former confederate veterans in Tennessee and it
became associated with insurgent violence against freedmen and their
allies and lynching was the tool of choice as early as 1867, 1868 and the
goal of the lynching was to prevent the ratification of new constitutions that
were written during the time of Reconstruction and the opposition used
all kinds of ways to harass voter but lynching was the thing that was done to
try to scare any person, African-American from working on reconstructing the
Constitution and to end and to drive fear in the hearts of white people, in
other words if you stay with them this is what’s gonna happen to you too. In the
9th 1868 there was an election 1868 and there were the murders of 1,300 voters
across southern states from South Carolina to Alabama in 1868 lynching.
Then there was the enforcement acts of 1870 and the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and
then you had the Civil Rights Act of 1875 they made it a federal law to
violate civil rights but most of these laws by the 1880s were nullified
that’s why Dr. King said 100 years later the negro standing up for, he was saying
America I thought we fixed this and then there was the Mississippi plan that
spread to Alabama and other places and the Mississippi plan used hate and used
lynching and used voter intimidation to control the election of 1876. The
Mississippi plan used informed and armed informal and armed militias to
assassinate political leaders hunt down community members intimidate and turn
away voters and suggest that if we don’t stop these black folk from voting.
They’re gonna murder, they’re gonna rape. You heard that language before, recently? And that plan ushered in a
president who lost the popular vote. But was selected by the Electoral College of 1877 and that president upon being selected promised to pull the troops out
of the South to turn the courts over to the extremists to turn the Supreme Court
over to the extremists and to roll back voting laws. It was all because of the
fear of the changing demographics particularly in the South that’s why you
can never say that some of what we’re seeing now is the worst thing we’ve ever
seen. Some of what we’re seeing now is nothing but a regurgitation of the vomit
of racism that we have seen before It’s not just a threat to black people,
it’s a threat to our democracy itself And so my brothers and sisters, the dirt
from all these sites where lynchings occurred in Alabama in this museum now
represent in a strange way holy ground, holy ground where there
was a holy war waged for justice that left many soldiers swinging in the wind
but story of that dirt also testifies that there is still a power and a
possibility for people to keep fighting and keep striving even in the face of
terror and in the face of lynching, I want us for just before I finish just take a
few seconds and stand and pay homage to all of those that kept fighting even
after they saw the bodies swinging in front of them. Come on. All of those passed,
all of those that died and gone on but they never quit, they never stopped.
All of the white folk, all of the black folk that still stay together. The ancestors. And before you sit down I want you to
turn your neighbor and say neighbor if they kept fighting in the face of lynch mobs
I dare you to be scared of Trump, I dare you to be scared,
I dare you, I dare you, I dare you, I dare you, I dare you, I dare you. I dare you to be afraid of modern-day
white nationalists, they must not know who we are, we are the sons and the
daughters of those that kept on anyhow. Now we have to remember, the remembrance
of these deaths by lynching that were designed by the politics of racism, fear
and injustice, we have to remember but the remembrance also forces us to raise
some questions in our day: Number one is lynching still occurring?
Number two is their lynching that must be challenged morally, legally and
politically? And number three can we memorialize the lynching of the past
without building a movement against the lynching of today? And I would say no, I
would say to come here and memorialize the lynching of the past and not
addressed and build a movement against modern-day forms of political lynching
today would in fact be hypocritical. Lynching today? Oh yes there are all
kinds of things swinging in the air. Remember I said that the lynchings were
politically motivated, wasn’t just about physical bodies when the Voting Rights
Act that was designed to protect the rights of all people and African-Americans in particular has been gutted to the point that for over 1800 days
the Ryan McConnell Congress has refused to restore the Voting Rights Act since
June 25th 2013 before Trump and it has, and it has
unleashed the kind of voter suppression we haven’t seen since Jim Crow. 23 states
have passed voter suppression laws and the people that get elected through
voter suppression end up hurting mostly white people, that’s the connection. Every
state that voted that has voter suppression the people that use voter
suppression, get elected but once they get elected they pass
policies that hurt everybody but mostly white people. The same states that do
voter suppression are anti-gay, anti-immigrant, anti-living wages,
anti-healthcare, anti-environmental justice, environment, you can track it if
you just know that a state engaged in voter suppression you can almost follow
that that state has elected people who are extremely regressive, hmm,
extremely regressive and that and and they control the poorest states. That’s a form of political lynching in my
mind when more than 31 percent of Alabamians are voting or blocked from
their access to voting we are seeing a form of modern-day political lynching
When we, when we continue to tie a noose around certain gerrymandered districts
that allow people to cheat their way into office rather than win legitimate
offices that’s a form of political lynching. When there are more than a
hundred and forty million people living in poverty as we are planning the Poor
People’s Campaign a national call for more revival one of the things we’ve
said is we got to change our narrative we keep hearing people say they’re 40
million people in poverty, no there are 140 million people who are poor or
working poor or who could not make it with some kind of supplement that’s
43.5% of a nation that is the wealthiest nation in
the world. Fifty years after the Poor People’s
Campaign and when we know according to one study by the Mailman School of
Public Health and other studies that upwards of two hundred thousand people
die every year from low wealth, hear that number yes we should be horrified and angry
that 5,000 people were lynched from the 1860s to the 1940s but today 250,000
people die every year from from from no wealth that’s more than die
heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Yes we should be in the street when one
African-American or two or three are shot unarmed African-Americans shot by
police yes we should be in the street when when there are people dying in
these schools and there are persons that are more willing to protect guns than
they are to protect children but if we should be in the state over the streets
over 5,000 people that were less in yesteryear and over others who are being
killed today by gun surely if 250,000 people are dying we ought to call that
modern day political lynching people. People that are dying not because it’s their
time to go not because God called them home but because systems that choke the
life out of them. There are 37 million people that are not insured even with
the Affordable Care Act and Harvard, one Harvard study said for every 1 million
people uninsured 5,600 people die, do the math, 5600 times 37 that’s how many people
will die this year and a group of clergy that I work with said we’re gonna stop
lying. If anybody dies from the lack of health
insurance we’re not gonna stand over them and say that God called them home. We will say God may welcome them home
but their guardian called them home, we gonna do like Mamie Till and open the
caskets and point and say this is what government policy lynching looks like. It’s time to put a face on the ugliness,
it’s time to put a face on the ugliness of political violence. I want you to
remember this name Venus, Venus is the name of a young girl who died at her
mother’s arm because Alabama refused to expand Medicaid. The governor and the
legislature refused because of their dislike for a black man in the White
House. They just, they refused even though when they refused
the majority of the people in Alabama that didn’t get the health care are
white but they racialized that’s one of the reasons I thought that when they
were promoting the Affordable Care Act people should have come South and they
should have brought black and white people together ’cause that,
there’s a video out there where God said I don’t agree with Obamacare and then
they said well what kind of health care do you have, well I have the Affordable
Care Act but I don’t believe in that.. I agree with Reverend Johnson we should
they should we should have never allowed them to name it Obamacare we shouldn’t
have agreed with it because that was a trick, it’s racialize code word that
cause people to vote against their own issue.
It is the Southern strategy being played out over again where you don’t sound
like a racist but you use a dog whistle and the problem with a dog whistle is
the dogs can hear it. Thousands of people dying in our health care in the richest nation in the world the only nation of the 25 wealthiest nations that do not
offer some form of universal health care I don’t care what you call that, that’s a
form of modern-day political lynching. Having more than 4 million children not
just in Flint but all over this country that are exposed to lead in their water,
4 million, you can buy unleaded gas and can’t buy unleaded water even when your
city sits right beside the biggest freshwater reservoir in the entire
country and right here in Montgomery and you go over to Lowndes County 20 miles from
the Edmund Pettus Bridge or less some 35 percent of the population they have
parasites in their water and while we’re in this nice plush place with sewage you
can go 20 miles from here and find people who have raw sewage running in
their backyards where children play and the government systems ran the sewage up
to where the businesses were but would not run it right across the street where
the people were, call it what you want that’s a form of modern-day political
lynching. And when we spend more than five hundred
billion dollars a year on the war economy, more money to almost double what
we spent in Vietnam and militarism and we dropped illegal bombs on black and
brown countries and most of them countries whose citizens are
already suffering from extreme politics of our time that is a form a political
lynching. Dr. King said any country that is constantly driven by his military
decisions is a country headed toward spiritual death and then when you have
this false moral narrative that will justify this stuff we’ll say well the
only thing we ought to be talking about is being against gay people, being
against abortion, being for prayer in the schools, being for tax cuts and being for
gun rights and if you do that Jesus loves you this I know and they ignore
the 2500 scriptures in the Bible that say a moral agenda has to do
with how you treat the poor, how you treat the stranger, how you treat the
least of these, how you treat the broker. And when, when they then will go into a White House meeting with other Congress people and lay hands and
pray, P-R-A-Y for a president and others while that president and others are
preying, P-R-E-Y-I-N-G on the poorest and the broken among us that is an attempt to lynch the
real moral agenda so that our hypocrisy, hypocritical agenda can go forward.
It must be challenged I cannot come here today and remember the lynching that
those jars of dirt represent without saying, asking the question must we not
call out modern day lynching and so this is why we believe it is critical now to
have a Poor People’s Campaign, a national call for moral revival that challenges
five interlocking injustices that are trying to strangle the life of our
democracy, systemic racism not interpersonal relations but systemic
racism like voter suppression and refusing to give our immigrants justice
when really they didn’t come across the border we went across the border and
took that stuff I mean that’s that’s a whole nother conversation and
Islamophobia and xenophobia, the racism and the disgusting way that we still
treat the first nation indigenous people. Number two,
we must address systemic poverty, you cannot survive as a democracy when 43%
of your people are struggling in poverty then we must address
ecological devastation and then we must address the war economy and militarism
and then we must address the false narrative of so-called religious
nationalism that seeks to consecrate injustice rather than challenge it
where forces claim to be the chaplains of the state rather than the critic of
the state and these are five interlocking injustices they don’t
just threaten black people, don’t just threaten white people, they don’t just
threaten red people, yellow people and brown, they threatened to strangle to literally
lynch the life out of our democracy and we must build a massive nonviolent
confrontation to policies of racism, militarism, classism, ecological
devastation and theological mass malpractice not violence for we are
against lynching but we must have a movement that will loosen the rope and
remove it from around the neck of our democracy. We must expose how these
policies are literally trying to choke out the life, choke out the possibility
of what this nation can become, they’re trying to stop a third reconstruction,
they’re trying to stop black and white and brown people from coming together in the
South and reaching, do you know what what do you know in the 13 southern states
there are 170 almost 180 electoral votes and do you know right now we exist in a
time where if you could register 30% of the black, unregistered black voters
in the South and connected them with progressive white and brown people that
you could change four or five Southern states almost immediately. And do you know that if you did that you’d
change the politics of this nation and do you know parties are not gonna do it
because they’re still trying to find a a secret weapon or something magical or
they talk about we got to go get white working-class voters which is wrong
because that’s racist in itself or they also black working-class voters and
brown working class voters, what we are, what it’s going to take a movement of people
who will come together and change the politics and change the narrative and
rise up from the South not again but for the first time in a major way
coming together. We must… we must have an anti-violence movement
but we must describe violence as more than just what happens with gun violence.
I met the other day with students who were in that movement and they’re coming
into the Poor People’s Campaign because they understand now the connection
between gun those who protect the gun owners and those who suppress the vote,
right, but Coretta Scott King helped us when Coretta Scott King was asked one
time about violence and she said violence is more than someone shooting
my husband through the neck and severing his spine she says violence is ghetto
housing, violence is refusing to pay people a living wage, violence is denying
people public education, violence is messing up the environment, violence is
destroying people’s culture, violence is denying people healthcare and then
sister Coretta said that there’s another form of violence and that is an
apathetic attitude that refuses to challenge the other forms of violence. And so… I come by to announce that on May, Mother’s Day, from Mother’s Day to June 23rd, We’re announcing 40 days of moral
non-violent moral direct fusion action in 30 states and the District of
Columbia and it’s with poor people not for them not paternalistically for but
with them and clergy conspicuously Imams and and and and rabbis and Christian
clergy and other and people who may not be people of faith but they believe in
the constitutional morality touches establishing justice and ensure
domestic tranquility and providing for the common defense and promoting the
general welfare we’re gonna reclaim welfare as a good political word and we’re
launching this movement, it’s not an end the 40 days is not in the end it’s not even
a commemoration of what happened fifty years ago,
it’s the launching of a multi-year movement that is designed to work on the
soul and the heart of this democracy and we have sense enough to know before you
can change the agenda you’ve got to be in the narrative and so the goal of this
movement are people who gonna put their bodies and their minds on the line to
shift the narrative in this country we had 26 presidential election debates in
2016 not one hour on voting rights, not one hour on poverty, not one hour or
ecological devastation, not one hour on the way in which militarism hurts the
forward movement of our democracy, we cannot have a political debate where we
talk more about emails and tweets and porn stars than we do the real issues
that are affecting the people of this nation. We need a movement. We need a movement so I want you to go to Poor People’s I want you to go to Breach
For 40 days we’re gonna engage in nonviolent moral fusion direct
action not just in DC but all over the country, a wave in front of state houses
and and in, we’re not going to the places they tell them you can
stand over there and protest, we’re going to declare the Capitol is our house, the
street in front of the Capitol are our house and we’re gonna have to launch
40 days and be out of massive voter mobilization and then power building
among the poor. I wonder what it would look like if we could get some of that
hundred and forty million people to see themselves together. I wonder if we could
get women like I was with last week up in Eastern Kentucky I met with the
Hatfields and the McCoys you know that’s a miracle.
I had the Hatfields and the McCoys in the same room now what I think we can
hook them up with black women from Alabama
you know and they come together they come together I’m headed out this week
to great, to the harbor in Washington where
the largest population of white millennial homeless people live. Grace
Harper met a young girl out there she came to one of our meetings, she said y’all I
want to tell y’all I’m a redneck I said oh Lord this is going somewhere, she said
she said I’m a redneck she said but I’m more than that she said I’m the white
trash that America threw out but forgot to burn and I’m joining the Poor
People’s Campaign cause it’s time! It’s time for us to get together so I’m inviting
you to join, I’m inviting you to hook up, I’m inviting you to join us for one of
the Mondays, the six Mondays, where we will engage in simultaneous non-violent moral
direct action to break through the tweets and to break through the North
and to put a face on the on poverty and racism and ecologic devastation to
put a face on it to go after the narrative and the consciousness because in
order to change the narrative you’ve got to change the narrator and you can and
then when you change the narrator you can change the agenda but you can’t do
anything until you own the agenda and we have up in the book of Amos in the
book of Amos, God told Amos look if I can get a remnant, Amos chapter five, he said if I
can get a remnant of people who are hurting that were willing to close down
the factories and close down the schools and get into public square this
is in the Bible long before Dr. King long before anybody, he said God said if
I can get a remnant and if I can get a remnant that will cry and lament and
will make the nation see the pain of its doing, God said if you’ll do that then I’ll
visit you, I’ll give you power, I’ll help you and so
my friends I answer my own question we must demand life and not lynching, policies of
life and death we must demand them, we must do it together, we must demand a
living wage, we must demand not only the restoration of the Voting Rights Act but
automatic registration at 18 and early voting and same-day registration, we
must demand protection of our environmental system, we must demand
health care for all people, how dare a politician get elected and get free
health care and then you don’t want the people that elected you to have the
same thing you got. We must and there’s much more on the
agenda, we must do it together. You see lynchings were carried out by
mobs but lynchings were stopped by movements. Ah, Ida B. Wells built a
movement. Leonidas Dyer from Ferguson,
Missouri led a movement. W. B. Du Bois announced a crisis that birthed a
movement to stop lynching. We today must be a life-giving movement that stands up
to the mobs of political extremism who often under the Gentile ways of
parliamentary procedure engage in the ugly plans of political
lynching and this is our day. That’s all it is this is not the worst we’ve
ever seen it’s just our time. Others have stood before but they’re dead and
gone. I declare unto you Harriet Tubman’s not getting up out of the grave.
I declare unto you William Lord Garrison is not giving up out of the
grave. I declare unto you A. Philip Randolph
is not giving up out of the grave. I declare unto you that Rabbi Heschel and
Dorothy Day are not giving up out of the grave. I visited the crypt at Martin
Luther King called his name and he didn’t get out of the grave but America
but America needs to know this they may not get out of the grave but we are
their children and we will never never never never turn back on this democracy
and we will never never never allow lynching to choke the life out of this
democracy, it is time for a movement for life

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