The Wallace Global Fund announced Thursday that the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is the recipient of the Henry A. Wallace Award, an award established in 2017 to recognise movements which demonstrate extraordinary courage and activism through standing up to oppressive corporate and political power.
The campaign is modelled on the historic 1968 Poor People’s Campaign that was organised by Martin Luther King, Jr. Like its namesake, the new Poor People’s Campaign is fighting to end systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental destruction.
‘The Poor People’s Campaign understands that our first priority must be taking care of people and our planet, not making profits or strengthening corporations. No one should die from a lack of medicine, food, or shelter simply because they don’t earn enough to survive – and our planet will not survive if we don’t take drastic steps to curb the toxic influence of corporations on our democracy,’ said Scott Fitzmorris, great-grandson of Henry A. Wallace and co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund.
‘Through their human-centered advocacy for racial, ecological, and social justice, the Poor People’s Campaign is showing democracy what it would really look like to put people ahead of profits. That’s a march for justice that my great-grandfather would have been proud to join.’
The campaign is a multi-state movement, co-chaired by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center at Union Theological Seminary.
The Henry A. Wallace Award recognises the work of the campaign and also awards $250,000 toward supporting the operations and organising efforts of both Repairers of the Breach and Kairos Center, organisations have undergirded the work of the campaign, building the movement network from coast to coast, and organising with and among the most impoverished communities in America.
The campaign, which had previously been organising across different states, has moved its operations online recently, and will hold a virtualMass Poor People’s Assembly on 20 June to demand that the government put working class people and communities of colour before corporations.
‘This moment demands that we centre the needs of poor and low-income people of every race, creed, colour, sexuality, and geography who remain threatened daily by the lack of a living wage, health care or housing,’ Barber said.
‘This moment requires broad-scale, systemic change. We are calling on everyone to join us in demanding a human-centred, movement-led response to this crisis.’
More than 100 mobilising partners who are helping to engage the more than 140 million poor and low-income people living in the United States support the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and March on Washington.