We Need A Bill That Starts From The Bottom

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Rekindling a prophetic moral vision for justice, social change and movement building
Repairers of the Breach

Dear Movement Family,

Congress has already passed three COVID-19 relief bills. We need to lift up the good in them all, but both Democrats and Republicans need to admit that millions of poor and low wealth people were still not included. To not do this is to lie and play politics when we need straight talk and truth.

Corporations and businesses didn’t have to wait on a bill, they always get the first bill.What we see operating here is called “shock doctrine,” when in the midst of disaster the businesses and corporations lobby to get the most upfront. 

Dr. Mary Bassett at Harvard says the “botched response” to COVID-19 will harm poor communities, people of color, and immigrants the most. We must deal with this now. We cannot wait five years and come back and do a study. We must address this inequity now.

The virus doesn’t know bottom or top, the virus only knows infection. If homeless people are not being taken care of, the virus continues to spread. We need to have a bill that starts from the bottom, a bill that lifts the homeless, the part-time workers, the people who are still having to go to work.

We must continue to call for the President, Vice President, and Members of the 116th Congress to immediately enact the demands of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to fully address the COVID-19 outbreak and the underlying crises of poverty and inequality that made so many vulnerable right now.

If you are appalled at the president saying 100,000 dead from the COVID-19 would be a “good number,” remember that 250,000 people die every year from poverty—and this is still not seen as a major issue in America. For too many, some lives apparently just don’t matter.

This is why on June 20, 2020, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival must hold its Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, as the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates and people of conscience in this nation.

This virus is teaching us that, from now on, living wages, guaranteed health care for all, unemployment rights, and labor rights are not “far left” issues, but issues of right vs. wrong and life vs. death.

Last week we saw the passing of the “dean” of the civil rights movement, Rev. Joseph E. Lowery. He helped Rev. Dr. King start the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2009, only six months after giving the inauguration benediction for the president.

Rev. Lowery was a tremendous fighter who stood up to injustices and to presidents. His spirit is always with us, because he always stood up to power and said to do the right thing by the least of these. We must continue to do that, and, in honor of his passing, we must rise up.

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 4, we are holding a “Digital Day of Action” for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, to call on the White House and Congress to enact relief for the people that Jesus cared about. At 1pm ET, I will be delivering an important and timely moral message for the nation via livestream, entitled “Knowing the Symptoms of a Nation Approaching Spiritual Death.” Please plan now to watch the livestream at breachrepairers.org/livestream.

If quarantine, isolation, and “stay in place” teaches us anything, it should be that we cannot do everything ourselves. It will help us when we come out of isolation to be better when we’re in community.

Until we can gather together again, friends, let us stay connected in all the digital ways that we can, and let us not forget: We must build the power we have. We must organize the power we have. And we must mobilize the power we have.

The very heart and soul of America depends on poor and low wealth people and their advocates saving this country from greed and lies. It is our time! We must refuse to be silent anymore.

God bless you,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

President and Senior Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach

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Repairers of the Breach
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