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American Friends Service Committee Joins New Poor People’s Campaign

Protesters rally with banners on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol
Photo: Layne Mullett / AFSC

For Immediate Release

Quaker Org that worked with Dr. King on original campaign joins new effort

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 4, 2018) Today, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a 100-year-old Quaker organization committed to building lasting peace with justice – announced their endorsement of the new Poor People’s Campaign. The Poor People’s Campaign is a national mobilization to challenge systemic poverty, racism, ecological devastation, and militarism, led by poor and working people and grounded in faith and nonviolence.

“We are honored to endorse the new Poor People’s Campaign,” said AFSC General Secretary Joyce Ajlouny. “AFSC answered the call from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help plan and participate in the original Poor People’s Campaign. In this moment of distorted morality, we are again called to take action against systemic oppression and stand for economic and social justice for all.”

AFSC was one of the principal endorsers of the original Poor People’s Campaign in 1968. AFSC’s Barbara Moffet worked directly with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to develop the campaign’s platform. As AFSC and other organizers from 10 cities and five rural areas strategized and gathered supplies, Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Organizers decided to continue the campaign in King’s honor, and AFSC and other organizers mobilized people across the country to come to Washington, DC for two weeks of protest.

This time, AFSC offices in West Virginia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, and the policy office in DC are participating in the campaign.

"From the West Virginia teachers' strike to other rumblings around the country, the spirit seemed to be moving,” said Rick Wilson, Director of AFSC’s West Virginia Economic Justice Project. “I'm hopeful that this campaign can help lead to a long overdue spiritual and moral awakening." The program has been active in West Virginia since 1989, engaging in legislative advocacy, public education, strategic organizing, and coalition building to create and defend policies that will enhance quality of life for West Virginians.

The Poor People’s Campaign has called for 40 days of nonviolent moral direct action, starting in the beginning of May of 2018.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.

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