Opinion: Living MLK's Legacy, join the new Poor People's Campaign


We, the clergywomen of Taos, invite you to join with us in support of the newly launched national movement, the Poor People's Campaign.

This call to moral action takes up the work Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was engaged in when he was assassinated. King identified what he called the "triple evils" of racism, poverty, and militarism. He prophetically understood how these three work together to the detriment of the poor and people of color and harm the peaceful well-being of our country and world.

Now, 50 years after King's death, the Rev. William Barber has picked up the mantle of leadership and re-launched the Poor People's Campaign. In the 50 years since King's death, we have recognized a fourth pillar in the interconnected system of injustices that plague our world: environmental devastation. Together, these four pillars of racism, poverty, militarism and environmental devastation harm individuals and communities and tear at the fabric of our world.

The national leaders of the new Poor People's Campaign have described this interfaith, inter-spiritual, nonpartisan campaign by saying that this campaign is not about a single party or policy agenda. It's about saving the soul of America by challenging the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and our distorted national morality.

These forces have been tearing apart America's moral fabric long before President Donald Trump's election last year. But Trump's nationalist and demagogic campaign and presidency highlight how extremist politicians in state houses and Washington have continued to gain power by dividing the poor and disenfranchised along racial, religious and other lines.

As Christian clergy, we have seen firsthand how the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism destroy people's lives and destroy families. We have also seen how climate change and other environmental threats put our community and communities around the world at risk. At the same time, as people of faith and as members of spiritual communities, we have also seen what people can accomplish when we put aside lethargy and fear and make the choice to build a new world together.

We can end the war on the poor and return to fighting the evil of poverty. We can end racism and white privilege and choose instead to heal and come together. We can end the endless arms race, including America's role as the world's arms dealer, and instead work with people of good will around the world to make this world a safe and healthy place for all people. We have seen how powerful people can be when we choose to work together and abandon violence and hate

The New Mexico Poor People's Campaign is only now getting started, and we invite you to join us at our Taos launch at First Presbyterian Church of Taos at 2 p.m. March 18. Groups are coming together in New Mexico across faiths, cultures, traditions and party lines, in the hope that working together, we can build a better New Mexico for all.

We hope you will come to the Taos launch of the Poor People's Campaign March 18. Together we can build a better world.

For more information about the new Poor People's Campaign, go to poorpeoplescampaign.org. To get involved with the campaign in Taos, contact local organizer Todd Wynward at toddwynward@gmail.com

The Rev. Ginna Bairby, First Presbyterian Church of Taos

The Rev. Pamela Shepherd, Taos United Community Church (Taos UCC)