Books

Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor

By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2017

A strong theological call for ending the abomination of systemic poverty.

Rev. Dr. Theoharis reinterprets “the poor you will always have with you” to show that it is actually one of the strongest biblical mandates to end poverty. She documents stories of poor people themselves organizing to improve their lot and illuminates the implications for the church. Poverty is not inevitable, Theoharis argues. It is a systemic sin, and all Christians have a responsibility to partner with the poor to end poverty once and for all.

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Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing

By The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, with The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis and The Rev. Dr. Rick Lowery
Beacon Press
2018

In this collection of sermons and speeches, Rev. Barber lays out his groundbreaking vision for organizing across racial, economic, and religious lines, paired with essays from leading activists in his Moral Mondays movement who write about implementing his ideas in an age of division. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II has been called “the closest person we have to Martin Luther King Jr. in our midst” (Cornel West) and “one of the most gifted organizers and orators in the country today” (Ari Berman).

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Articles & Interviews

MLK

The Earth Does Not Belong to Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s True Legacy

Tom Dispatch
by Liz Theoharis
January 17, 2021

2020 will go down as the deadliest year in American history, significantly due to the devastation delivered by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, count in nearly two trillion dollars in damage from climate events (many caused by, or heightened by, intensifying global warming), a surge of incidents of police violence inflicted on Black and Native peoples, and millions more Americans joining the ranks of the poor even as small numbers of billionaires soared ever further into the financial heavens. And it’s already obvious that 2021 is likely to prove another harrowing year.

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Erin Schaff/The New York Times

What Biden and Harris Owe the Poor

They must reject the politics of austerity and fulfill their commitment to policies that address human needs.

By William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis
The New York Times
Dec. 25, 2020

Before he was elected in November, Joe Biden promised that his “theory of change” for reforming the economy would be “ending poverty.” He pledged to champion a $15 minimum wage, affordable health care for all and federal action to address systemic racism. In the midst of an economic crisis, a pandemic and an uprising for racial justice, low-income Americans — Black, white, brown, Asian and Native — voted to overwhelm a reactionary base that President Trump had stoked with lies and fear.

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Making Sense of Mass Abandonment Amid Abundance

Tom Dispatch
by Liz Theoharis
December 13, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr., offered this all-too-relevant comment on his moment in his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”:

“The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the upper classes until they gag with superfluity. If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to adjust this inequity. It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent.”

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The Other America: The New Politics of the Poor in Joe Biden’s (and Mitch McConnell’s) USA

Tom Dispatch
by Liz Theoharis
November 17, 2020

In the two weeks since Election 2020, the country has oscillated between joy and anger, hope and dread in an era of polarization sharpened by the forces of racism, nativism, and hate. Still, truth be told, though the divisive tone of this moment may only be sharpening, division in the United States of America is not a new phenomenon.

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This pressing issue must come up at the last presidential debate

CNN
by William J. Barber II and Liz Theoharis
October 21, 2020

On Thursday evening, Americans have one last chance to hear President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on the same stage for 90 minutes. While neither candidate is likely to change course or depart from their stump speech, Americans deserve to hear both candidates address the pressing issue of poverty. 

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A New Nonviolent Medicaid Army Is on the March

Inequality.org
by Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis Nijmie Zakkiyyah Dzurinko
September 30, 2020

At the start of Tuesday’s unhinged presidential debate — as the pandemic continued to rage outside the walls of Case Western University — the American people were offered an anemic vision for promoting and expanding public health. In the shadow of more than 200,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, viewers heard pushback on the use of masks, critiques of publicly funded healthcare, and lies about nonexistent plans to mend a broken and inhumane healthcare system.

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About the Author

The Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis is Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. She is the Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. Liz is the author of Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor (Eerdmans, 2017) and co-author of Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing (Beacon, 2018). She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).