As Campaign Nonviolence invites everybody to join in connecting the dots of violence and injustice, Poor People’s Campaign continues to analyze and challenge the intersectional issues facing our country. The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) has published The Souls of Poor Folk, an in-depth assessment of the trends and conditions of poverty in the US over the past 50 years, focusing on where we stand today. In addition to providing an empirical basis to build and strengthen the unity between multi-racial, multi-gendered, intergenerational, inter-faith, constitutionally grounded, and and non-faith participants looking to make meaningful change in their communities, Souls of Poor Folk sets out to dismantle the two most common myths about poverty in America: 1) “Poverty is the fault of the poor”; and 2) “Despite our nation’s abundance, there is not enough for all of us to survive and thrive.”
Both CNV and Poor People’s Campaign aim to build a movement of movements, making the case that the most serious challenges we face in modern cannot effectively be tackled separately. IPS states, “It connects the attacks on voting rights to the attacks on basic needs like water, health care, living wages, and the shift towards the incarceration and criminalization of the poor, with disparate effects across race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. It shows that our pursuit of wars not only costs countless lives abroad, but is also connected to domestic problems, including the gutting of public services, the decline in government accountability, and the poisoning of our water and air. It documents the decline of rural communities over the past 50 years, where hospitals are closing, jails are opening, and diseases that had been eradicated in the 20th century are cropping back up.”
Below we can see some key ways that systemic racism, poverty, war, and economic devastation function together to create difficult living situations for so many people in our country and in the world, as discussed in the report.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, sums it up perfectly: “If we explore the interconnection of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation, we see how systemic racism allows us to deny the humanity of others; by denying the humanity of others, we are given permission to exploit or exclude people economically; by exploiting and excluding people economically we are emboldened to abuse our military powers and, through violence and war, control resources; this quest for control of resources leads to the potential destruction of our entire ecosystem and everything living in it. And we see how the current moral narrative of our nation both justifies this cycle and distracts us from it.”
To learn more about these issues and find out how to join the movement to bring together impacted people, help them build power, and hold our government accountable, see the full report here. Find out how you can join the Poor People’s Campaign at their website here. And join the Campaign Nonviolence Convergence this September to make sure your voice is heard in DC.