Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Picking Up Where Dr. King Left Off

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an incredible symbol of the civil rights era and who's life was cut far too short. At the end of his life, he was transforming his message from one about race to one about class. Unfortunately, much of that mission to eradicate poverty was put on hold for the "great conservative movement" in the 1970s, 80s, 90s...basically up until now. Thankfully, the newest leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Council is determined to start a true Poor People's Campaign.

From Yahoo News:

ATLANTA – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference hopes to mobilize 50,000 people in the Mississippi Delta this summer in a campaign to draw attention to the poverty of a region where some Americans still live in homes with dirt floors and brown water flows from their faucets.

The effort is much like the one envisioned by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was planning a Poor People's Campaign and march on Washington before he was assasinated in 1968.

SCLC Interim President Byron Clay announced the initiative in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. He said the efforts would be centered not on the nation's capital, but in towns along the soil-rich, resource-poor Delta region.

"We will bring this nation face to face with poverty," Clay said. "We are organizing poor people of all colors, to form the kind of beloved community that Martin Luther King Jr. talked about."

Hopefully Clay is serious about this, because a movement for the people in the Mississippi Delta region is seriously needed. The event is only scheduled for three days in June but the effects must be transformational. The SCLC's once prominent influence has been sorely missed and it is about time they return. Religious groups have been all about restricting rights and not focusing on core "Christian" values, such as ending poverty and hunger.