“Raising up generations of religious and community leaders”: Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis & Willie Baptist on the History of the Kairos Center
For five years as Kairos: The Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and fifteen years as the Poverty Initiative, the members of the Kairos Center have worked to build a network of community and religious leaders across the US and beyond. Many of these leaders are deeply engaged in the work of building the movement to end poverty today, including playing key leadership roles in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
To mark our 5th anniversary as the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice this fall, we are hosting a series of Facebook Live webinars that will highlight the tremendous work and leadership of our network. We will look at the lessons of the poor organizing the poor, examine the role of human rights and religion in movement-building, hear from some of the frontline work of leaders across the country, and much more.
For our first webinar on Thursday, October 25, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and Willie Baptist, co-coordinator of Poverty Scholarship and Leadership Development for the Kairos Center, spoke to our history and mission. The Kairos Center’s lineage traces back to the struggles of the poor and homeless during the Homeless Union National Organizing Drive of late 1980s and early 1990s and the work of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in the 1990s. Our core program, the Poverty Initiative, was formed at Union Theological Seminary in 2004. In 2013 it expanded to become the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice.


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In the past year the Kairos Center has had tremendous breakthroughs in our movement building. We have begun to shift the narrative around poverty and build real power among the poor and dispossessed. As we prepare for the days and years ahead we know the promise of this movement rests on the strength, insight, and unity of its leaders. The Kairos Center is dedicated to deepening and broadening its role in these efforts — please donate today to help us continue our important work.