Rev. William Barber issued a call on Thursday for people around the country to join in the Poor People’s Campaign, whether they are willing to be arrested for acts of civil disobedience or they’re more comfortable spreading the word about the campaign through social media.
"We are calling on all faith leaders and people of moral conscience to sign up and make a commitment to be a part of this movement," Barber wrote in an open letter shared online, with a link for people to join.
"We need you this Monday, and every Monday to join us on the front lines in your state or Washington , D.C."
Barber is former head of the N.C. NAACP, a job he left last year to join the Poor People’s Campaign, a revival of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1967-1968 effort to make poverty a national political issue that transcends race and party connections.
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Conservative critics have said Barber is too partisan himself.
Barber and co-chair the Rev. Liz Theoharis last weekend launched what they have said will be six weeks of acts of civil disobedience in Washington and in at least 30 states states across the country.
Forty-nine people were arrested in Raleigh on Monday for blocking traffic in front of the N.C. Legislative Building as part of the campaign.
Barber and Theoharis were arrested Monday outside the U.S. Capitol for standing in the middle of the street as they kicked off the campaign there. Barber and Theoharis have said they will work with grassroots groups across the country on four core issues: racism, poverty, ecological devastation and what the group calls a "war economy," referring to the amount of national resources used for the military.
Barber is profiled in this week’s issue of The New Yorker magazine, in which staff writer Jelani Cobb details Barber’s growing up in Eastern North Carolina, his involvement in civil rights issues from an early age and his belief in the need for social reform that starts at the bottom.
The story says the Poor People's Campaign will be a a test of whether the tactics Barber and others used during the Moral Monday protests in North Carolina, opposing the conservative policies of the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly, can be applied on a national scale.