Woodcut by Julia Jack-Scott
By Kelly Gallagher
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25: 35-36,40
The Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have created a core principal in the Poor People’s Campaign that they have held firm to and modeled over and over again – to lift up and deepen the leadership of those most impacted by racism, poverty, environmental devastation, and militarism. I like the language of “most impacted” better than “the least of these,” because “least of these” in today’s society can have connotations of “not as good as” or “not as important as.” Either way, the point is the same. Like Jesus, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is calling us to engage the margins in an intimate and profound way. A way, I daresay, that has become foreign for many in the mainline church. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
On May 21, 2018, 16 people were arrested in Michigan as part of the Poor People’s Campaign 40 days of actions around the country. They blocked the entrances to the Department of Health and Human Services. It was a cry against the systemic racism so ingrained in our systems that claim to be supporting the poor. Continue reading
An excerpt from Rev. William Barber’s address presented before the 74th Union for Reform Judaism Biennial convention on December 6, 2017.
We are here tonight, and 62 years ago would have been the fifth day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Today, when the prophetic actions of Rosa Parks like Shiphra and Puah in the Bible, chose to challenge the Pharaoh of Jim Crow. She sat down and birthed a movement on a stage that produced a prophet like Moses named Martin. She sparked a nonviolent revolution. Continue reading
Alana Alpert, Bill Wylie-Kellermann, and others shut down the Department of Environmental Quality on June 4 as part of the Poor People’s Campaign.
Re-shared from Tikkun.
Ordained from Hebrew College of Boston in 2014, Rabbi Alana Alpert serves a dual position as rabbi of Congregation T’chiyah and as a community organizer with Detroit Jews for Justice. Because they have been working closely together on the Michigan Poor Peoples Campaign, she invited Rev. Bill Wylie-Kellermann to share the teaching for Rosh Hashanah. A graduate of Union Theological Seminary in NYC, Bill is a non-violent activist, author, and United Methodist pastor recently retired from St Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit. What follows are their remarks for the day.
Rabbi Alana Alpert: Shanah tovah!!!
I suppose you are used to most of my heresies by now, but I’ll admit a new one: vegan coneys. There is a new place in Brush Park. Just a few weeks ago, I sat around a long table of Detroit Jews for Justice leaders discussing the implications of our recent arrests as part of the Poor People’s Campaign, a national campaign uniting tens of thousands to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation & the nation’s distorted morality. Continue reading
By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann
I wrote this as a children’s book for Isaac during the Poor People’s Campaign. He was very concerned about why Grandpa kept going to jail when we were also teaching about how we dont believe in jails and prisons. So, I wrote this to try to explain it to him. We printed it out and he and Cedar and Ira and their friend helped illustrate it as a birthday gift to my dad.
Why is Grandpa in jail?
We don’t like jails. We think they shouldn’t exist.
If people make bad choices, there are better ways to help them be better.
Paying attention to what they need.
Locking people up for years of their life only….
Takes them away from their families.
Makes people feel lonely.
Takes them away from the sun and the trees.
It is a broken, sad system.
So, why is Grandpa in jail? Continue reading
By its simple public character a measure of light is directed upon an otherwise hidden and inconspicuous evil. By it an aspect of the historical crisis is expressly identified. A kairos moment of decision for the community of faith is named and commended and acted upon.
Bill Wylie Kellermann, Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Kairos, Confession, Liturgy (1991)
More than a quarter century ago, Detroit native and ordained United Methodist Bill Wylie-Kellmann coined the phrase “liturgical direct action” to describe a brand of Christian witness that goes beyond charitable giving and moves outside the church building to expose and resist the powers that be. Now 70 and retired from formal ministry, Bill is still hauling the sanctuary out on to the street. Yesterday, in downtown Detroit, he joined 250+ friends and faithful in the final moral Monday of the national Poor People’s Campaign. Continue reading
The Poor People’s Campaign resists and rises above systems of oppression in Olympia, Washington (PC: Clancy Dunigan)
The Poor People’s Campaign keeps on rolling. This is from Jeremy Porter in Kentucky:
There is a long history of nonviolent civil disobedience in this country and around the world. The goal is not to be arrested, but to bring attention to the violence happening in our midst. If we get arrested on the road to justice, then we are willing. This violence includes: People without dignified affordable housing (where an individual in KY has to work 77 hours a week on minimum wage just to afford a two bedroom apartment), the 40% of homeless youth who are queer, 200,000 people who die in this country annually from lack of wealth, 1 in 5 KY children who don’t know where their next meal will come from…these are just the tip of the iceberg of violence happening daily.
Our goal in the Kentucky Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is to wage peace and justice against this violence, but first people must know it exists…and so we name it and make it known through nonviolent moral fusion direct action, which sometimes means risking the breaking of a law to bring attention to the unjust laws all around us.