Wednesday, May 2, 2018
By now you've probably seen Kai's "Big Announcement" last week on passing the torch to Tania, Shani, and me. If not, here's a link to that announcement on our website.
We've been working around the clock to advance the work and mission of Democracy Spring and I'm proud to announce our next big action: "The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival."
A mass nonviolent direct action campaign, Democracy Spring has partnered with Repairers of the Breach; the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice; the Popular Education Project; and over 100 local and national partners to push the sleeping giant of poverty in America -- where 1 in 2 Americans are poor or low-income (according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure) -- to the top of the national agenda.
From our perspective, this campaign (the resurrection of a dream that was killed shortly after its revolutionary dreamer, Dr. King, 50 years ago) is not just promising because of its sustained, escalating nonviolent direct action over 40 days in over 40 states across the country, but also because of its laser focus on the link between political and socio-economic (dare I add environmental) disenfranchisement!
Indeed, the campaign has already commissioned a report and map showing the states with some of the worst voter suppression laws are the same states with the worst poverty and healthcare rates (i.e. the lowest or no minimum wage, and denied Medicaid expansion).
Furthermore, while the official poverty rate is about the same today as it was when Dr. King decried it 50 years ago, the share of national income going towards the top 1% of earners has nearly doubled (the 400 wealthiest Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 64% of the U.S. population, or 204 million people) -- even while healthcare (the leading cause of bankruptcy) and education costs continue to soar, the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour can't afford anyone a two-bedroom apartment at market rent in any state or county in the nation, and congress and the White House hand the rich yet another tax cut on the backs of the poor.
This political and economic inequality erodes our democracy in direct (voter suppression at a time when we have internationally low voter turnout compared to other democracies) and indirect (campaign finance laws that leave our policymakers beholden to the wealthy few at the expense of the many) ways and we must face these threats by building on the wisdom of our forbears who taught us -- from the founding revolution to abolition, women’s suffrage to the labor, farm workers, and civil rights movements -- that no major democratic struggle in American history has been won without the weapon that Dr. King called "the sword that heals," nonviolent direct action.
So, will you join us? Will you help us break the righteous record we set in April 2016 for the largest act of American civil disobedience this century? Will you step up locally to help your state advance the new pro-democracy wave to counter what I call "The 7 Deadly Sins of American Democracy"? Will you follow the lead of grassroots patriots like those in Florida who are advancing Felon Re-enfranchisement? Will you follow the lead of grassroots patriots in Oregon in 2016 (which had the largest voter turnout increase of any state during the last presidential election) or, most recently, those in New Jersey who organized to make their state the 12th since 2016 to enact Automatic Voter Registration?
If so, sign-up at this unique Democracy Spring/Poor People's Campaign link so that we can ensure that you get all the information you need (based on your location) ahead of our launch in just under 2 weeks!
The 40 days of action will commence on Monday, May 14th (the day after Mother's Day) in 40 states (at/around the state capitols) and the District of Columbia with a form of civil disobedience on each Monday over those 6 weeks. However, you MUST attend a training ahead of each action (usually on the Sunday before or at 11am on Monday) to participate. For more information, sign-up at the link above and see the Action Map here (which includes the contact info for your local coordinators).
The themes for each week are as follows:
> Week One (May 13-19) - Somebody's Hurting Our People: Child poverty, Women, LGBTQIA community, and People with Disabilities
> Week Two (May 20-26) - Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty: Voting Rights, Ending Mass Incarceration, treatment of indigenous people and Justice for Immigrants
> Week Three (May 27-June 2) - The War Economy: Militarism, Veterans and the Proliferation of Gun Violence
> Week Four (June 3-9) - Ecological Devastation and Health - Clean Air, Clean Water, and Healthcare for All
> Week Five (June 10-16) - Everybody’s Got a Right to Live: Jobs, Income, the Right to Organize, Education and Housing
> Week Six (June 17-22) - A New and Unsettling Force - A Fusion Movement Rising Up
That said, I'll leave you with these words from Rabbi Maimonides: "The world is equally balanced between good and evil. Your next act will tip the scales."
For Real Democracy,
Renaldo and the entire DS Team