1. Update

The Poor People’s Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival

by Eric Ginsburg, Assistant Clerk, FCNL Executive Committee

May 3, 2018


The Poor People's Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival begins on May 14, 2018, kicking off 40 days of nonviolent direct action across the U.S. Eric Ginsburg, Assistant Clerk of FCNL's General Committee, writes about his involvement in the Poor People's Campaign and its connection with FCNL's mission and values.


My involvement with FCNL meets an important need for me to be connected to the larger circle of Friends across the country and to feel supported and encouraged as I seek to live my values actively in the world. The passion and commitment I have found through FCNL have further encouraged me to seek other ways to let my life speak.

For the past five years, I have participated in the Moral Monday events many of you may be aware of here in North Carolina, and through that action I became aware of a growing national movement with goals that align very closely with the four pillars of FCNL’s work: The Poor People’s Campaign: a National Call for Moral Revival.

To be poor is no sin; poverty is a sin. To be homeless is no sin; homelessness is a sin.

The campaign was announced earlier this year by the Reverend Doctors William J. Barber and Liz Theoharis to build upon Dr. Martin Luther King’s work some 50 years ago, when he stood with sanitation workers in Memphis, TN to demand fair wages and basic dignity. The injustices plaguing our country did not end with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This campaign seeks a dramatic transformation to address poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, and an economy built around war. As Reverend Barber has said many times, no one should live in or die from poverty in this wealthy nation. To be poor is no sin; poverty is a sin. To be homeless is no sin; homelessness is a sin.

I feel compelled to share my involvement in the Poor People’s Campaign with the friends of FCNL because this work aligns so closely with our own commitments to a world free of war, a society with equity and justice for all, a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled, and an earth restored. We work to educate like-minded people across the country and to influence members of Congress and other policymakers to enact legislation in line with these commitments. At the same time, the Poor People’s Campaign seeks a transformation of our society in pursuit of the very same goals and values.

Listening to the powerful message of Reverend Dr. Barber, I was quite moved and then led to join the movement and serve on several committees, and I am encouraging others in my community to join as well. Here in North Carolina, our poor lack many basic services that many of us take for granted—clean drinking water, adequate healthy food, housing, medical care, and access to quality education. Other states experience these challenges as well, and this is why a national effort is needed to effect fundamental change.

We expect this movement to continue to grow and build momentum across the country to seek justice for what Jesus called

The Poor People’s Campaign will kick off 40 days of simultaneous nonviolent direct action in 41 states and Washington, DC, beginning on May 14, 2018. Each week, the Campaign will host learning sessions, rallies, nonviolent moral fusion direct action, town halls and webinars based on weekly themes. The first of these events will focus on the plight of impoverished women, children and the disabled, as well as access to education. Training sessions are already underway across the country and will continue throughout the 40 days of direct action. But the 40 days of action are only a beginning; we expect this movement to continue to grow and build momentum across the country to seek justice for what Jesus called “the least among [us].”

FCNL shares with the Poor People’s Campaign a commitment to work for change and to transform our society and government in pursuit of economic and social justice. As you continue your faithful support for FCNL and its work, I encourage you to learn more about the Poor People’s Campaign and to consider how you may become involved. There are many state chapters as well as a national organization and many roles for concerned Friends to play as the campaign moves into the direct action phase.

Eric Ginsburg serves as the Assitant Clerk on FCNL's Executive Committee. The views expressed are his own.