Supporting the Poor People’s Campaign — No distractions, please

If you don’t know more of the story behind who Cheri Honkala is and how she has been part of the welfare rights/Poor People’s scene for years,
As long time welfare rights activist,Cheri’s statement seems powerful BUT why is she issuing it now? If she has problems with the current PPC, why isn’t she being direct about it?
Why announce her own march without respect for all the amazing, legitimate work motivated by William Barber, Liz Theoharris and Willie Baptist, and lots of us NOW, around the nation, which being led by more poor people, and more people with real personal poverty experience than any major social movement in history. Indeed, why introduce innuendo suggesting that the only current movement that is actually coming forward with real success is suspect?
Don’t get confused. Ask questions. Check out who has been doing the the most work of fighting poverty for the longest time. It is William Barber, Liz Theoharris, and Willie Baptist, along with others prominent in the PPC.
I respect Cheri’s history, and lifelong energy and I recognize her powerful voice.
But Cheri’s way now is not the right way. It is confusing and divisive. She could be joining, but then she might not be leading in the way she expects to lead — I could say “mislead.”
Today’s poor people ARE single mothers like Cheri using what’s left of welfare to survive, AND they are also immigrants, and low waged workers who are often single mothers or the children of single mothers. Today’s poor people are still disproportionately African Americans, who join with college students of all ethnic backgrounds in invisible poverty as they try to get an education, even as they know that the debt they are accruing to get it will keep them poor or near poverty for a very long time. Today’s poor people are sick and getting older living in fear that there will be no simply available health care for them. They reside in all parts of the USA — in large part because real estate developers are taking their cities away.
Finally, we now have a new national anti poverty movement growing organically again, out of the history of civil rights, labor rights and women’s rights and human rights movements. It is built upon the best parts of global environmental and LBGT movements. It is led by “people of faith” but still is welcoming to all who have been damaged by faith or who never sought it. AND the new Poor People’s Campaign has adopted 12 fundamental principles for a moral revival that preclude righteous Neoliberal tricks.
Let’s embrace it. Cheri Honkala should too. But I, for one, will not widely circulate her statement directly, nor waste time engaging with her self-serving plans fro her own march to distract us.
Let’s move on and build the one big movement that is proving its credibility every day. Please. The time is NOW.    Cheri’s original statement can be found here.

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