Invoking Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s name, a coalition of groups across the country and in Minnesota is promising a massive wave of non-violent civil disobedience action this spring to fight a rise in racism and poverty.
Poor people, clergy and campaign activists gathered at the state capitol in St. Paul to tell legislative leaders if they don’t do something soon there will be six weeks of direct action this spring – including one of the largest waves of nonviolent civil disobedience in U.S. history.
“We have come to say clearly that a politics that ignores the poor has gone on far too long,” said DeWayne Davis, co-chair of the Minnesota campaign and senior pastor at All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis. “And we will not be silent anymore.”
The group delivered a letter to politicians highlighting Minnesota’s nation-leading racial disparities, dozens of racist voter suppression laws passed nationwide in recent years, and a stark jump in the percentage of people living in deep poverty and economic vulnerability. They vowed to risk arrest beginning Mother’s Day if politicians fail to adopt a moral and just agenda.
“We demand a change in course,” the letter reads. “Our faith traditions and state and federal constitutions all testify to the immorality of an economy that leaves out the poor, yet our political discourse consistently ignores the 140 million poor and low-income people in America.”
The Minnesota news conference was one of more than 30 at state capitols and at the U.S. Capitol Monday. It comes as the nation prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. In the months before his assassination, King and hundreds of thousands of Americans were engaged in a “Poor People’s Campaign” offering a vision of justice that extended beyond civil rights laws and aimed more broadly at racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.