The Pulse

On MLK holiday, a renewed push to address poverty, voting rights: ‘We cannot be silent or unseen.’

By: - January 17, 2023 8:50 am

Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to demand the president and congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle meet with poor and low-wealth people and religious leaders to address the policy decisions that have held millions of Americans in poverty.

“Sadly, many will go to King events today and claim to honor the prophet. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle will go while even today, they are standing diametrically opposed to the things he fought for: addressing systemic poverty, addressing racism, [and] ensuring voter protection,” said Barber in a videotaped message.

Barber also called out the Moore v. Harper case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, in which Republicans are arguing that state courts should not have the power to review laws for federal elections, including congressional redistricting plans, passed by state legislatures.

“That’s not going forward. That’s going backwards,” said Barber. “That’s not the dream, that’s the nightmare.”

The Poor People’s Campaign plans to dispatch its members in the coming weeks to meet with congressional representatives urging action in the 118th Congress on living wages, voting rights, and healthcare for all.

“Our job is to pick up the work. Every round must go higher,” Barber told the audience honoring King’s legacy.

Last month, Barber, the founder of the Moral Monday movement and former head of the N.C. NAACP, announced plans to lead a new center at the Yale Divinity School.

Click below to watch an excerpt of his remarks on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday:



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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.