The following reports from last night’s “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” event in Richmond are courtesy of Del. Mark Keam, Weston Mathews of the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, environmental activist Lee Williams and David Martin. Our friend Jon Sokolow adds, “Incredible event in Richmond tonight, bringing the Poor Peoples Campaign to Virginia! Powerful testimony from all facets of the social justice movement. Our people are hurting. We will not be silent!”
I had a major scheduling conflict tonight.
I could have remained in my legislative district in Tysons where U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and Republican candidate Corey Stewart would debate live on NBC News, moderated by Chuck Todd of Meet the Press.
Or I could have driven to Richmond to join Rev. Dr. William Barber as he brought the “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival” for the first time to Virginia.
I chose to go to Richmond, and I’m so glad I did.
While I love my friend and Senator Tim Kaine, I didn’t need to attend one more event with him, and he didn’t need me there to cheer him on as he faced his opponent.
The Virginia Poor People’s Hearing, on the other hand, was a unique opportunity to discuss important issues that were not even brought up in the Senate debate.
The organizers invited many elected officials to attend, but apparently, I was the only one who actually showed up.
I joined hundreds of ordinary folks from all across Virginia to listen to fellow Virginians sharing their struggles for justice in the face of overwhelming odds stacked against them by our systems.
We heard from residents of Union Hill in Buckingham County fighting to keep an environmentally disastrous compressor station out of their historic lands.
We heard from a home healthcare worker who works around the clock for less than a living wage, while becoming sick from the patients she serves.
We heard from an African American woman who lost her brother to a senseless police shooting.
We listened to the pleas of an undocumented woman fighting to keep her family together.
We heard from a peace activist urging our government to stop unnecessary wars overseas and the militarizing of our domestic law enforcement.
We heard countless other personal stories of how our laws and our society continue to perpetuate countless situations of inequities.
Rev. Barber and others urged the Commonwealth of Virginia to organize, mobilize, and act to adopt a Moral Agenda that puts the needs of our people first.
I heard the call tonight, and I’m fired up to do my part.
From Weston Matthews:
Back in my old home of Richmond, Virginia tonight with the Rev. William Barber II and my friend Chad Oba from Friends of Buckingham who is leading the Poor People’s Hearing right now. There are hundreds of others in the Capitol here tonight standing up to Dominion Energy and ecological devastation and poverty. Chad is sharing the story of her community facing a toxic compressor station in Buckingham County on a former slave plantation at Union Hill. The National Poor People’s Campaign, continuing the legacy of Martin Luther King, is now behind all of us working together in WV, NC, and VA to stop environmental racism and Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline and compressor station.
Also…from David Martin: