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Poor People’s Campaign is a way to continue to reach out to those who fall

Many thanks to the strangers who rushed to help me when I fell flat on my face in a puddle while stepping from a chain-store parking lot onto the sidewalk. Spokesman Review columnist Paul Turner recently addressed the experience of strangers reaching out on impulse to help people get up when they fall.  He observed that in these times, when people don’t want to talk about differing political opinions, those helping don’t ask about politics, but react in a split second to help, asking, “Are you all right?”

As we enter the new year, with a new tax structure, ongoing natural disasters, festering hate across racial and religious lines, threats of nuclear war, let’s hope we continue to ask each other, across our political, economic, social and racial divisions, “Are you all right?”  Let us hope we continue to help each other stand up again.

There are many ways people fall through the cracks of our society every day.  There are many people in our nonprofits, government agencies and faith communities, reaching out to help those who fall to stand up and walk on in their lives.

The rules are changing for those in the caring communities. As those who receive the greatest breaks in taxes reap their benefits from a bill that eliminates tax deductions for charitable giving, let us hope those who benefit the most, and everyone else, will increase their undergirding of the faith and nonprofit sectors, which may to called on to pick up the slack as government will likely seek cuts to reduce the new deficits.

Let us hope that those who benefit the most will generously, as promised, pass on their fortunes, bringing home offshore profits, assets and jobs to be taxed at the new lower rates, to bring the economic growth that is promised to offset the deficits and improve the economic well being of all.

The more funds put into circulation through the economy, the healthier it is.  That’s more than buying locally or buying American.  It’s about hiring people, paying them just wages and salaries with benefits, and about donating generously so all can consume, invest and share in the wealth.

Let us hope that will happen so two parents working full-time don’t have to live with their children in their car because their affordable housing became unaffordable.

Let us hope Congress will respect that people have paid into programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, so they receive the promised income and services.

Aware that might not happen, faith leaders have launched the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival,” for the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign in 1967.

 The campaign will coordinate civil disobedience by more than 25,000 people in 25 states, resurrecting King’s ethos of non-violent, confrontational love for today.

Organizers seek to address the plight of more than 45 million Americans who live in poverty and confront environmental destruction, white supremacy, unchecked militarism and voter suppression.

The campaign is sharing commonplace stories of poverty—like the family living in their car, a young woman dying of cancer because of being denied Medicaid or a man breaking the window of a building housing homeless people.

Since 1967, there have been efforts to undo hard-won gains, said organizers, weakening unions, reducing the value of minimum wages, suppressing votes of poor people and enriching corporations.

One organizer, the Rev. William Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach, quoted Isaiah: “Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people.”

Mary Stamp - Editor

Copyright © January 2018 - The Fig Tree