Partnering with the Poor People’s Campaign
If there’s one thing we at UCUCC are good at it is learning and thinking. And on the subject of Racial Justice and Anti-racism we have done a lot of that. Since we accepted that racial justice is a spiritual imperative we have had study groups work on the UCC curriculum on White Privilege and on a couple of pretty challenging books, along with forums, workshops and talks on relevant topics. Some of us have undertaken to become Peace Circle leaders with a specific aim of leading such discussions. With an on-going racial justice book group and lots of input from Reverend Yolanda, UCUCC is still thinking and discussing.
On the other hand, there comes a point when just sitting and thinking becomes downright self-indulgent unless we reach beyond our walls and do something with what we are learning. Our work on Tent City and Mary’s Place and the Northwest Community Bail Fund demonstrate that we have not been entirely self-focused. However, we need to do more. The Racial Justice Activists began searching a year or two ago for an organization or action where we could make a genuine and desired contribution. This proved to be unexpectedly difficult, because if there’s one thing our learnings had taught us, it’s that the work that needs and deserves to be supported has BIPOC leadership and the last thing they need is for a white-dominated group to turn up with even a faint whiff of “Let us help you. We can fix things,” even when that is not at all our intention.
As it turns out, there is at least one solution. The Poor People’s Campaign A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC) is solidly committed to being led by marginalized people of all stripes, and the Washington chapter responded to our overtures with warmth, grace and enthusiasm. The movement originated with the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and spent some time in quiet mode after his death until the Reverends William Barber and Liz Theoharis took up the torch a few years ago. Now they are building momentum towards a massive march in DC on June 22, 2022, modeled on the 1963 event at which MLK made his “I Have a Dream” speech. This one is specifically in support of a Third Reconstruction — the first two being the post-Civil-War Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. Their eggs aren’t all in that basket, though. Senator Manchin has been getting an earful from the West Virginia chapter with a lot of support from members all around the country.
The PPC can use our help on many fronts — advocacy through phoning and letter-writing, turning up at actions (currently mostly virtually, but surely, eventually in person), reaching out to people who might be interested, and more. You can find out more — lots more!— at the local website (www.washingtonppc.org) or the national one (www.poorpeoplescampaign.org). And we are working on ways to keep UCUCC activists posted about their needs and possibilities. The format is as yet undecided, but keep an eye on the website and the weekly Newsletter!
One of the features of the PPC that particularly draws me in is that they take their music very seriously. They have a whole section on Theomusicology, and a lot of rousing songs. One of my favorites is the first one I learned:
Somebody’s hurting my sister [brother, planet, …]
and it’s gone on much too long,
Yes, it’s gone on much too long, Yes, it’s gone on much too long,
Somebody’s hurting my sister and it’s gone on much too long,
And I WON’T BE SILENT ANY MORE!!
There’s our mission, right there! – Ginger Warfield