We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People's Campaign

We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign

Edited by Liz Theoharis
Foreword by William J. Barber II
Broadleaf Press, 2021

Organized into fifty-two chapters, each focusing on a key Scripture passage, We Cry Justice offers comfort and challenge from the many stories of the poor taking action together. Read anew the story of the exodus that frees people from debt and slavery, the prophets who denounce the rich and ruling classes, the stories of Jesus’s healing and parables about fair wages, and the early church’s sharing of goods. Reflection questions and a short prayer at the end of each chapter offer the opportunity to use the book devotionally through a year.

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

by Liz Theoharis
Forward by William J. Barber II
Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2017

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

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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Articles & Interviews

The Nation Mother's Day

The Poor People’s Campaign Launched on Mother’s Day 2018

The Nation
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
May 14, 2023

On Mother’s Day five years ago, we at Repairers of the Breach and the Kairos Center launched the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival with 40 days of moral fusion direct action. Some historians called those six weeks of actions at dozens of state capitals across the country simultaneously the largest and most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in history.

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The Pandemic Portal View: Lessons for Moral Standard-Bearers in a Sick Society

Tom Dispatch
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
May 2, 2023

“In order to fully recover, we must first recover the society that has made us sick.”

I can still hear those prophetic words, now a quarter-century old, echoing through the Church Center of the United Nations. At the podium was David, a leader with New Jerusalem Laura, a residential drug recovery program in North Philadelphia that was free and accessible to people, no matter their insurance and income status.

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Rev Liz on Real News Network

The Media Amplifies Bigotry but Ignores Working Class Organizing. That’s by Design.

Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign discusses the role of media in suppressing the working class movement—and how stories of people fighting back can be used to inspire others.

The Real News Network
Interview by Maximillian Alvarez
March 28, 2023

In the midst of the largest strike wave in the US in a century, corporate media is more focused on amplifying the bigotry and fearmongering of right-wing politicians and their base than on covering working class movements.

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America, stop grinding the faces of the poor

by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
March 22, 2023

CNN — “What do you mean by crushing my people and grinding the faces of the poor?” (Isaiah 3:15, New International Version Bible)

Congressional Republicans have proposed the first of what promises to be a series of bills to limit access to food assistance for needy families.

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A Life’s Calling

By Samantha Drake
The Pennsylvania Gazette
February 22, 2023

For Liz Theoharis C’98, activism has been a way of life—from assisting her parents with their justice work, to community service as a Penn undergrad, to cochairing the recent revival of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign of 1968. The Presbyterian minister, social justice leader, and biblical scholar is committed to reframing the narrative around poverty and the poor while pushing for lasting policy changes.

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Poverty Amid Plenty

Poverty Amid Plenty: A World Fragmented by Inequality

Tom Dispatch
By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
February 7, 2023

A few weeks ago, the world’s power brokers — politicians, CEOs, millionaires, billionaires — met in Davos, the mountainous Swiss resort town, for the 2023 World Economic Forum. In an annual ritual that reads ever more like Orwellian farce, the global elite gathered — their private jets lined up like gleaming sardines at a nearby private airport — to discuss the most pressing issues of our time, many of which they are chiefly responsible for creating.

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About the Author

The Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis is a theologian, pastor, author, and anti-poverty activist. She is the Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. Rev. Dr. Theoharis has been organizing in poor and low-income communities for the past 30 years. Her books include: We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign (Broadleaf Press, 2021) and Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor (Eerdmans, 2017) and she has been published in the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, Sojourners and elsewhere. Rev. Dr. Theoharis is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and teaches at Union Theological Seminary. She has been awarded the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, the Selma Bridge Award, the Women of Spirit Award from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others.