Category: Interviews

Interview on the Off-Kilter Podcast

Off-Kilter Podcast
By Rebecca Vallas
June 1, 2018

One month after the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, a group of faith leaders resuscitated the civil rights icon’s final project by launching the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. You’re probably familiar with campaign co-chair Reverend William Barber II from his leadership of the Moral Mondays movement. But less well known is his co-chair, the Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, who has spent the past two decades working as an organizer with groups led by people in poverty, such as the National Welfare Rights Union and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Rebecca speaks with Rev. Dr. Theoharis about what’s behind the campaign - and how it’s trying to change the narrative on poverty in the U.S.

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Fifty years after MLK’s death, activists revive his most radical project: the Poor People’s Campaign. Interview with Salon.

Paul Rosenberg
May 20, 2018

Will the poor “be with us always”? Rev. Liz Theoharis on repurposing the true, radical message of MLK and Jesus.

Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr. first launched the idea in the last months of his life, this past week saw the kickoff of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, starting with an initial 40-day period of nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience. Described as “a moral fusion coalition that is multi-racial, multi-gendered, intergenerational, inter-faith and constitutionally grounded,” it shares King’s commitment to fighting the “Triplets of Evil” — systemic racism, poverty, and the war economy and militarism — but adds the interrelated problem of ecological devastation.

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Empowering the Souls of Poor Folk, with Rev. Liz Theoharis: Interview with Belabored Podcast

Belabored Podcast
By Sarah Jaffe and Michelle Chen
May 19, 2018

Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign, joins us to talk about why people are marching across the country against poverty and for economic justice.

Half a century after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. set out on a march to demand equality now, the poor are still marching. But they’re no less impassioned and they come, as King once said, “to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty.” We speak to Rev. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign along with Rev. Dr. William Barber. The longtime welfare rights organizer talked about why people are marching across the country for economic justice and “moral revival.” They are making their political demands heard for the next several weeks but also hope to build power at the ballot box, in their workplaces, and in their communities.

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Reviving King’s Poor People’s Campaign: Interview by Rev. Welton C. Gaddy

State of Belief radio program
By Rev. Welton C. Gaddy
May 19, 2018

A new national moral revival launched last weekend with several hundred arrests of religious leaders on Capitol Hill and in events across the country. The new campaign harkens back to the effort to bring together marginalized people from across the country planned by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. before he was assassinated. Called the Poor People’s Campaign, it seeks to “challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.” The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, who along with the Rev. William Barber is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, will join State of Belief host Rev. Welton C. Gaddy this week to learn more about this 40-day nationwide campaign of moral action – and how to get involved.

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“It’s Time for Moral Confrontation”: New Poor People’s Campaign Stages Nationwide Civil Disobedience. Interview with Democracy Now!

Democracy Now!
By Amy Goodman
May 14, 2018

On Mother’s Day 50 years ago, thousands converged on Washington, D.C., to take up the cause that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been fighting for when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968: the Poor People’s Campaign. A little more than a week after her husband’s memorial service, Coretta Scott King led a march to demand an Economic Bill of Rights that included a guaranteed basic income, full employment and more low-income housing. Half a century later, Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have launched a new Poor People’s Campaign. Starting today, low-wage workers, clergy and community activists in 40 states are participating in actions and events across the country that will culminate in a mass protest in Washington, D.C., on June 23. We speak with Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

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Get Ready for the Poor People’s Campaign: Interview with The Nation

The Nation
By Greg Kaufmann
April 13, 2018

This Mother’s Day, at a moment when people in poverty are facing unprecedented attacks on their basic living standards, a new Poor People’s Campaign launches.

It is reminiscent of the campaign Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began developing in 1967, five months prior to his assassination. King made his intention clear in his last sermon: “We are coming to Washington in a poor people’s campaign. Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.… We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty.”

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A Key Leader, But Not the Only Leader: Interview with LA Review of Books

Los Angeles Review of Books Blog
By Andy Fitch
April 20, 2018

Reading with the poor happens on a number of levels. I and many folks I organize with have a practice of doing Bible studies within the context of social-movement organizing. We’ll actually pull out a Bible, study it with a community, and connect our readings to the conditions we see people living under. We’ll discuss the organizing strategies that poor people employ to try to end the poverty in their lives, in their families’ lives, in their communities, and in the world at large.

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2 Ministers Are Trying To Revive The Campaign To End Poverty That MLK Started: Interview with Huffpost

By Julia Craven
April 10, 2018

He couldn’t stop thinking about them, their wide eyes and the silent hunger that lay behind them.

Staring up at the ceiling from his motel bed, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told his closest confidant, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, that the impoverished children they visited earlier that day were cemented in his mind.

It was June 1966 and the pair had stopped by an early Head Start facility in Marks, Mississippi, which is the seat of Quitman County, a devastatingly poor area in the alluvial plains of the Mississippi Delta that was thought to be the most impoverished in the country at the time.

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Land of the Rich, Home of the Poor: America’s Poverty Crisis: Interview on News Beat

News Beat
March 21, 2018

The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, and by certain fiscal parameters, the wealthiest. It’s richest citizens own roughly 40 percent of the world’s wealth. Yet, about 40 million Americans are living in poverty, and about 20 million are mired in extreme poverty, scraping by on less than $2 a day. At the same time that the top 1 percent are increasing their vast fortunes, the income inequality gap is ever-widening, and the middle class is dissolving. For tens of millions of Americans, the rose-colored portrait of a booming U.S. economy is pure fiction. Instead, they’re spending every waking moment simply trying to survive.

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Huge Organizing Effort, ’40 Days of Action’ Launching to Fight Poverty: Interview by Eleanor J. Bader

March 4, 2018

The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the recently launched Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of three kids in a family she describes as deeply committed to improving life for the excluded and marginalized.

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other peace and anti-apartheid activists were frequent guests in her home, and even as a child, Theoharis understood that religious faith—in her case, Presbyterian—had to be linked to social justice.

This coupling—faith and justice—led Theoharis to work with the National Union of the Homeless as a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate. “Their organizing was inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign led by Dr. King in 1967 and ’68, and I quickly learned the extent of the unfinished business that still needed to be done,” she begins.

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