7 Steps Before the Midterms
A Movement Declaration to Reconstruct American Democracy
We – the thousands gathered here in active declaration of a rapidly growing front of organized moral fusion power – and in deep solidarity with those rising up across this country, who are demanding a reconstruction of this democracy and a reconstitution of the policy and legal priorities of this nation – say: we are in a time of emergency. We gather in Washington D.C. for a Mass Poor Peoples and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March on Washington and to the Polls in a dark summer, as our democracy is threatened by a state by state coordinated assault on the right to vote and imperiled by open violence, greed, obstruction, distortions, and denial, while more than 140 million poor and low wealth people of every race, creed, religion, in every region of this country are rising up daily against growing indignities, pain, injury, and death at the hands of immoral policies and interlocking injustices.
Even after historic numbers of people, including those gathered here, voted in 2020 and said we must do more in a collective act of faith, during the grief of a global pandemic, our democracy remains in an untenable, fragile place: it is bending under the unrelenting weight of an orchestrated attack on our rights to vote for the purpose of further entrenching anti-democratic, non-majority power. And we are facing an attempt to stop the power of this movement and what our presence and witness represents.
We see the truth and so we say the truth: if the assault on this democracy prevails, the consequences will be felt across generations. We see and say that we come here in the shadow of mass death, insurrection, an attempted coup, and in a time in our nation’s history when it is openly known that there are those in political office – and running for political office – who are working with grotesque resources to seek to overthrow the will of the people of the United States again. And we come with the sight and insight to see ahead of us to the generationally transformative resurrection possibilities of a Third Reconstruction of this democracy and this country.
As we gather in Washington D.C. before Congress, before this Supreme Court that – unchecked – threatens to decay our constitutionally protected right to justice and equal protection under the law, and before this White House, we declare that we know there are 143 days between today, June 18, 2022, and the last day of the mid-term elections on November 8. On the ballot are 469 seats in Congress – 34 in the Senate and 435 in the House.
We stand together today without the full protections of a Restored Voting Rights Act. And we declare that we will use our full power to force this democracy to reckon with its people’s plight. We will not be silenced and we will not go unheard! This movement will not be turned around or turned back! Our votes are not supports but demands to be heard and to take action. A movement that votes does not vote for any party or any one person, we vote for our people and for our lives. We vote to summon a Third Reconstruction that can birth us out of an impoverished democracy and usher in a new world.
To this purpose:
1. We demand that every member of Congress publicly acknowledge the reality and pain of 140 million poor and low wealth people – including 43 % of our entire population and 52% of our children, who have died at a rate 2 to 5 times higher during this pandemic, and 250,000 of whom died from poverty and inequality every year – and recognize a moral crisis that must be corrected, reckoned with, and repaired. This is an emergency; and we need emergency action now to redress these injuries.
2. We demand every member of Congress commit to creating and supporting legislation that reflects the Third Reconstruction Agenda developed by poor and low wage communities. No action that is available to this Congress to relieve this injury and protect our democracy should be taken off the table – no matter how close we are to an election.
3. We demand a White House Poverty Summit with President Biden to allow this administration to meet with a delegation of poor and low-wealth people, religious leaders, and economists and to commit to an Executive Action Plan to Eliminate Poverty in 2022.
4. We declare that this Campaign will engage in massive mobilization and outreach through every means available to us – by visits, letters, petitions, candidate forums, and phone calls – advocating for our current representatives to take action now to address the needs of 140 million poor and low wealth people in this country.
5. We pledge to return to Washington D.C. in September 2022, to join 5,000 poor and low-wealth people and religious leaders, along with 100 economists in nonviolent moral direct action in our next step of declaration and notification of these demands.
6. This Campaign announces its launch of a nationwide effort for the next 143 days to register and educate poor and low-income communities to vote in every election for candidates who commit to a Third Reconstruction Agenda to address poverty and low wealth from the bottom up. We must vote in historic numbers for our ancestors, for our children, and for the generations to come whose lives and planet are under threat today.
7. We declare that we are a movement that votes. We call on all poor and low-wealth people to march in mass assembly from here to the polls this November and to use your vote to make your voices heard! We will expand the “we” included in “we the people” and fight with every tool we have to ensure no voice is excluded from this democracy, no vote is denied, and no cry for justice rising up from this moral fusion movement is unrepresented at the ballot box.
Forward together, not one step back!
For more, visit: poorpeoplescampaign.org