USA: An uprising is a collective gasp for life


A facebook post by the Lee County NAACP

Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

We heard George Floyd cry “I can’t breathe” and “Momma, I love you” on the recording of his lynching in the streets of Minneapolis. The image of a white officer choking the life out of a Black man while fellow officers looked on is viscerally reminiscent of the lynching photographs that were used to terrorize African-Americans for decades in this nation.

We have also watched as crowds of people—black, white, and brown; gay, straight, and trans—have taken to those same streets to cry out against systemic racism. Protestors are right to decry such brutal and inhumane treatment as racism. Thank God people are in the streets, refusing to accept what has been seen as normal for far too long. What a shame it would be if this nation could watch a policeman murder another human being, then pose like a hunter with his prey while his colleagues looked on, and there not be protest, anguish, anger, outrage, and moral disruption.

All that is needed to understand why Black people are crying out is to ask what the response of our justice system would have been if a video had emerged of four black men doing that to a white man. We all know what racism looks like. But the lethal violence of racist officers is only one manifestation of the systemic racism that is choking the life out of American democracy.

The mentality that crushes a brother’s neck – as in the case of George Floyd in Minneapolis – or shoots a man jogging because of his skin color – as in the case of Ahmaud Arbery – is the same mentality that sends black and brown and poor and low-income workers of all colors into the lethal path of the COVID-19 pandemic without needed protections, health care and economic resources.

Whether it is police abuse of power or policy abuse of power, these deaths serve as a collective knee on the necks of people of color.

The people’s demand for love, truth, justice and fundamental human rights is a cry that will not be comforted until change fully comes. This demand is rooted in the mental, social and political trauma caused by seeing violent deaths year after year at the hands of far too many police departments and judicial systems with no one held accountable.

Please join us this week as we continue to speak truth to power and hold this nation accountable for its violence.

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Question for this article
What’s the message to us today from Martin Luther King, Jr.?

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We have no option but to organize, we have no option but to mobilize, we have no option but to register and educate people for a movement that votes. We cannot back down. Our lives depend on it.

Join us for a cultural day of action today, June 1st, to let others know that Somebody’s hurting our people… it’s gone on far too long… #WeWontBeSilent anymore! We rise together on June 20, 2020! #EverybodysGotARightToLive!

Check out our Culture Days of Action Digital Toolkit for virtual banners, songs, signs and social media posts to share.


Please join the final Prophetic Council call before the June 20, 2020 mobilization. On our call Rev. Barber, Rev. Liz, and Campaign leaders from across the nation will share updates and ground us spiritually for the struggle ahead.

We will meet over Zoom Thursday June 4th at 7:30pm EST/ 4:30pm PST.

Register for the call


On Thursday, June 4 at 9pm EST/ 6pm PST the Moral Fusion Student Fellows will host a Facebook Live event featuring students and recent graduates talking about the impact of campus closures, police violence, the economic crisis, and COVID19, and demonstrate the importance of organizing and mobilizing for June 20. Join us at

If we take time to listen to this nation’s wounds, they tell us where to look for hope. The hope is in the mourning and the screams, which make us want to rush from this place. There is a sense in which, right now, we must refuse to be comforted too quickly. Only if these screams and tears and protests shake the very conscience of this nation—and until there is real political and judicial repentance—can we hope for a better society on the other side of this.

The very people who have been rejected, over and over again, are the ones who have shown us the possibility of a more perfect union. On June 20th, 2020, poor and low-income Americans of every race, creed, culture, and sexuality will come together for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Gathering to lift up a new moral agenda in our public life that promises transformative change to heal the wounds of systemic racism.

Register to join us.

Forward together, not one step back!

Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Co-Chairs, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Follow the Poor People’s Campaign on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

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(Thank you to Tikkun and Rabbi Michael Lerner for calling this post to our attention.)

2 thoughts on “USA: An uprising is a collective gasp for life

  1. My letter to the U.N. went to the wrong address.But maybe serendibity has btought me to the attention of the poor peoples campaign. Do you know any film that speak truth to power and are consistent with the values of the Poor Peoples campaign. I wasa leading founder in 1965 that tried to integrate a diverse area of New York through its children. It is partially alive still as a Headstart program but has ties to the Poor Peoples goals aside from poviding preschool for a limited few who thrived. Patrick Gaspard was in our program. Can someone contact me at Thank you; Shirley Chesney

  2. I pulled myself out of a depressive slump, feelng lack of support for all my effort to propagandize for humanistic values through my culture of peace film festival. I thought you would grant some word of recognition after you saw the Savante Stragety from Brazil. But nothing. When the refugee crisis had a prestigious advocate for good in Vanessa Redgraves film, “Sea Sorrow”, I tried to show it and designated it the Culture of Peace Film Programs film of the year. Again few attended and no real support from Sarah Lawrence college where it.was shown with much opposition Now I,m ninety and with less force than two years ago. But please tell me if the decade programm will give support toanother attempt on my part. Stay safe. Sincerely, Shirley Chesney

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