Sacramento Activists and Organizers Raise “Poor People’s Campaign” Awareness

the north steps of the State Capitol, Kevin Carter discusses the Poor People’s Campaign’s National Call For Moral Revival, which is slated for 25 cities during the summer of 2018. (OBSERVER photo by Robert Maryland)

SACRAMENTO — Just a year before his assassination, at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff retreat in May 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said the following:
“After Selma and the Voting Rights Bill, we moved into a new era, which must be an era of revolution. In short, we have moved into an era where we are called upon to raise certain basic questions about the whole society.”

Last week, on the north steps of the State Capitol, a group of individuals and social organizations convened to bring awareness to Dr. King’s social revolution that evolved into the “Poor People’s Campaign,” a platform that described the unjust economic conditions facing millions of people worldwide.

The poor, people without homes, the disenfranchised, clergy, concerned individuals, local community based organizations, and regional community-based organizations, gathered to launch California’s the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.”

The organizers announced a new moral movement to challenge what they called “the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and America’s distorted national morality.”

According to local social justice activist and community leader Kevin Carter, the campaign is not about commemorating on Dr. King’s work, it about completing it.

“This is just going to be with no politicians involved,” said Carter, who has been an active member of the Poor People’s Campaign in Sacramento. “This is strictly about the people, the clergy, and all other organizations taking on social justice issues of today.”

The event at the State Capitol is in preparation for the “40 Days of Moral Action.” In the spring of 2018, the Poor People’s Campaign will unite with people from May 13 – June 21 in at least 25 states, including Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.

The campaign is spearheaded by co-chairs Rev. Dr. William Barber of Repairers of the Breach and Dr. Liz Theoharis from KAIROS, the Center of Religions, Rights, and Social Justice.

The participants at the State Capitol consisted of 15 different organizations, including the Sacramento Area Black Caucus and Sacramento Area Congregation Together. Individuals from the Sacramento region and the Bay Area were also in attendance, Carter said.

The Poor People’s Campaign culminated in a Solidarity Day Rally for Jobs, Peace, and Freedom involving more than 50,000 people on June 19, 1968. Over the past 50 years, Carter says, social movements have continued the struggle against poverty and the interrelated issues of the war economy and militarism, racism, and ecological devastation.

“From my perspective, the Poor People’s Campaign today is in remembrance of Dr. King’s work and what he was doing before he was assassinated,” Carter said. “We’re picking up the slack where he left off.”

Carter is trying to help a segment of poor people who are hit hard with challenges as they try to navigate living on the streets and acquire an education.

“My focus is the many homeless students we have here in Sacramento. They are part of the homeless population,” said. “We have 3,000 people who are homeless in Sacramento and we only have 200 beds for a triage center? That’s just a band aid and a lack of representation. It’s much bigger than that. We should have a triage in every area of the city.”

For more information about the Poor People’s Campaign Call for Moral Revival, contact Kevin Carter at (916) 275-8737 or visit: https://poorpeoplescampaign.org.

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By Antonio Harvey

Observer Staff Writer