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For MLK Day Tribute, MD's Poor People's Campaign Hosts Film on Poverty

The Rev. William Barber of the Poor People's Campaign leads a rally in Washington in June 2019. (Poor People's Campaign)
The Rev. William Barber of the Poor People's Campaign leads a rally in Washington in June 2019. (Poor People's Campaign)
January 20, 2020

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Poor People's Campaign, led by Rev. William Barber, is marking MLK Day Monday with screenings in Maryland and around the country of a new documentary that chronicles the organization's fight to make poverty reduction a national priority.

The organization is continuing Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 campaign of the same name, according to Rev. Angela Martin, co-chair of the campaign's Maryland chapter.

She says the documentary "We Cried Power" shows the battle against poverty is still as pressing today as it was more than 50 years ago.

"It gives a really close and intimate view of some of the struggles that we encounter in terms of doing this work as well as kind of shining a light on a lot of the poverty that exists in this nation," Martin points out.

A 2018 Economic Policy Institute report found that about one in eight Americans lives below the poverty line.

The Poor People's Campaign's Maryland screening will be in Rockville starting at 11 a.m. For more information on it and other screenings, see the group's Facebook page.

Martin says the Poor People's Campaign revival grew out of Barber's 2013 Moral Mondays protests against North Carolina's Republican-majority legislature.

That movement aimed to change the public dialogue about poverty by looking at it as a moral issue, she notes, and to influence state politicians to make moral choices to help people living in poverty.

Now the Poor People's Campaign, which has chapters in 41 states, is pushing to elevate that viewpoint on a national level.

"We are a new and unsettling force in the words of Dr. King, and we are excited about being able to change the narrative and change the dynamic in this country," Martin states.

She says the group is organizing a massive Moral March on Washington in June that is a national call for moral revival to break divisions in the country and advance constitutional and moral values.

Diane Bernard, Public News Service - MD