Month: June 2018

Poor People’s Campaign Gives Testimony at Congressional Hearing

A movement is happening.  The Poor People’s Campaign has launched a united force for change bringing together people of diverse backgrounds who share a common calling to restore reason and dignity to the United States of America.  This stage of the campaign – 40 Days of Moral Action – began on Mother’s Day and will culminate in a Global Day of Solidarity and Mass Rally in Washington, D.C. on June 23rd.

Last week the Poor People’s Campaign – A National Call for Moral Revival moved forward into it’s 4th Week with the proclamation – “Everybody’s Got the Right To Live” including the rights to Education, Living Wages, Jobs, Income and Housing.  Non-Violent Civil Disobedience rallies were documented from Kentucky to California, Mississippi to New York, Minneapolis and Michigan.  

In response to the wave of non-violent direct actions, resulting in arrests across the country, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D- Maryland) called a hearing on Capital Hill to listen to testimony from Rev. William Barber and a panel of citizens among the most impacted by the various forms of violence and degradation being committed against our people and our planet.

Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis was detained with eight other faith leaders overnight after being arrested on the steps of the Supreme Court.  CEE’s Karenna Gore joined Rev. Barber and those offering testimony to read Rev. Theoharis’s statement on her behalf.  Please watch the hearing and follow the link below to join the Mass March in DC on June 23rd or an event in Global Solidarity in your local area.

U.S. Congressional Hearing in Response to the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings convene a hearing on Capitol Hill on economic inequality, union rights, voter suppression and other issues raised by the new Poor People’s Campaign. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker is expected to be among a dozen lawmakers who will hear testimony from and question campaign Co-Chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, along with victims of systemic poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation and America’s war economy.

Posted by Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival on Tuesday, June 12, 2018

 

Please join us in supporting this moral movement in DC or in solidarity with your local community.

 

On Water & Faith: Minister’s Training 2018

We began the conference with a water ceremony.  In a large circle, on a beautiful late spring day, 70 of us gathered around a copper pot to pay homage to Creator, life-giving water, and to one another. The water each of us poured into the pot carried stories of hope and sometimes pain, but when mixed together they represented resolve to bring healing to our world.

The three days spent during On Water And Faith: Ministry in the Time of Climate Change were transformative. We designed the conference so that Day 1 focused on faith, theology, and the people who are impacted by climate change. The day was capped off by a public lecture featuring former Vice President, Al Gore and CEE’s Catherine Flowers, as they discussed the felt impacts of climate crisis and the reasons why the climate is changing so much.

On Day 2, VP Gore spent the morning digging deeper into the science behind climate change and its global impacts. It provided a strong foundation not only on the science but also on the solutions to climate change, and why there is reason to hope. Yes, the climate is changing and yes, there will be major obstacles to overcome. What we do right now in these next fifteen years will dictate how big those obstacles are. It’s vital we come together now to implement the solutions we know will create positive changes. To that end, we spent the afternoon on our second day learning from experts on religion, science, community organizing, and advocacy.

The final day was spent brainstorming. Each of us came from a different context with challenges all our own. For some, their issues were related to health others, on pipelines and fracking. Even more are dealing with stronger storms and extreme weather events that test the resolve of their communities. No matter the problem, we came together as a group to share the wisdom we came with and the knowledge gained throughout the weekend to imagine solutions.

None of us are alone. It is important to remember that in each city and each town and in each community there are people standing in the breach doing good work for those that they love. If we look at all the issues surrounding water as a whole we are justified in sitting down and saying, “It’s just too much. This problem is too big to overcome.” It is an understandable response. But when we take a step back we realize that around the world good, passionate people are fighting hard for our collective future.

We’ll leave you with a poem from Wendell Berry that brings us comfort and hope:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 


Andrew Schwartz, Director of Operations

 

Andrew Schwartz is the Deputy Director of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

 

 

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights to present report findings on the US, CEE’s Catherine Flowers to attend

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, toured parts of the United States in December of 2017.  His findings are detailed from visits to California (Los Angeles and San Francisco), Alabama (Lowndes County and Montgomery), Georgia (Atlanta), Puerto Rico
(San Juan, Guayama and Salinas), West Virginia (Charleston) and Washington, D.C.

While the final report was published on June 1st, it will be formally presented to the UN Human Rights Council on the Summer Solstice, June 21st.  CEE’s Catherine Coleman Flowers will be in attendance in Geneva, Switzerland for the presentation and to contribute to a panel along with Mr. Alston and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Poor People’s Campaign and Kairos Center.

Jeremy Slevin authored a partial analysis of the report on Talk Poverty.

The conclusions are damning. “The United States already leads the developed world in income and wealth inequality, and it is now moving full steam ahead to make itself even more unequal,” the report concludes. “High child and youth poverty rates perpetuate the intergenerational transmission of poverty very effectively, and ensure that the American dream is rapidly becoming the American illusion.”

The report in it’s entirety can be read here.

READ MR. ALSTON’S ORAL STATEMENT to the 38th session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, 22 June 2018

The panel presentation moderated by at the Geneva Graduate Institute on June 26th, 9 – 10:30 am EST can be viewed via Live Stream.


Catherine Coleman Flowers

Catherine Coleman Flowers is CEE’s Director of Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement.  She is the founder of ACRE, the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise and the Rural Development Manager for EJI, the Equal Justice Initiative.