Poor People’s Campaign digital rally highlights the power of voting
June 23, 2020
This past weekend, Earth Day Network joined the digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington as a mobilizing partner.
Led by co-chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and following in the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign of 1968, the event — labeled as a digital justice gathering — lifted up and united the voices of the 140 million poor and low-income people across the United States.
In his opening statement, Rev. Barber said, “This digital rally, this mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, [this] stage [is] given to the people who are impacted… by systemic racism, systemic poverty and ecological devastation”
Throughout the broadcast, people who are poor and low wealth told stories of the environmental impacts to human health and their communities.
Mary Jane Shanklin, a member of a Kansas farming family said, “Kansas farmers are at a breaking point because economic stress and polluted water are killing them… almost everyone we know has a cancer story.”
Olinka Green, a Dallas-based community organizer and founder of the Highland Hills Community Action Committee, said, “We are being killed by the water, with a place called Lane Plating… they have put cyanide, mercury, lead hexavalent chromate, sulfur, in our water and in our ground. Our children are dying.”
The Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington not only embodied the power of listening to and following the lead of the most vulnerable communities but also emphasized the power of voting to sustain a safe and healthy environment.
Actor David Oyelowo connected many of the Poor People’s Campaign themes when he said, “To vote is to be heard. To be heard is to bring about change. So in this moment, use your power, use your vote and bring about that change.”
One way you can use your power to bring about change is to participate in Earth Day Network’s Vote Earth campaign. This election day, vote in solidarity with the one and only home that we share, to ensure that all have equitable access to the resources and healthy environments necessary to survive and thrive.
We need leadership that follows science, promotes sustainability and works to prepare communities for a just, healthy and equitable future.