By REV. WILLIAM BARBER II
and REV. LIZ THEOHARIS
As Joseph R. Biden and Kamala D. Harris assume the offices of President and Vice-President of the country, and as members of the U.S. Congress take their place as legislative leaders, we ask all persons of faith and moral conscience to pray for our new national leaders and call on them to embrace the 14 Policy Priorities to Heal the Nation: A Moral and Economic Agenda for the first 100 Days.
The only way forward for our nation is if love is tied to justice, light is grounded in truth and we have leadership rooted in a moral agenda for the nation.
TO BENEFIT ALL
As people of moral conscience, we must come together and support a policy agenda that centers the needs of poor and low-income people. We know that in order to heal this nation we must lift up moral policy solutions that will benefit everybody. This is a reconstruction and restoration agenda that, when implemented, can repair and transform the lives of people of every race, ethnicity, age, sexual and gender orientation, who have been suffering unjustly, for far too long.
Inequality has cost us all too much and has hurt too many in this country. These costs are threats to genuine democracy in this country. The health, healing and well being of the nation depends on concretely and expeditiously addressing policy-based systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial of health care, militarism and the false narratives of religious and white nationalism.
A PLAN FOR ACTION
On behalf of the 140 million poor and low-income people in the country, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival insists that the following policies from the Poor People’s Jubilee Platform take precedence during the first 50-100 days of the new administration and 117th Congress.
The 14 policy priorities include:
- Enact comprehensive and just COVID-19 relief that provides free testing, treatment, vaccines and direct payments to the poor.
- Guarantee quality health care for all, regardless of any pre-existing conditions.
- Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour immediately.
- Update the poverty measure.
- Guarantee quality housing for all.
- Enact a federal jobs program to build up investments, infrastructure, public institutions, climate resilience, energy efficiency and socially beneficial industries and jobs in poor and low-income communities.
- Protect and expand voting rights and civil rights.
- Guarantee safe, quality and equitable public education, with supports for protection against re-segregation.
- Enact comprehensive and just immigration reform.
- Ensure all of the rights of indigenous peoples.
- Enact fair taxes and targeted tax credits.
- Use the power of executive orders.
- Redirect the bloated Pentagon Budget towards these priorities as matters of national security.
- Work with the Poor People’s Campaign to establish a permanent Presidential Council to advocate for this bold agenda.
To learn more about the 14 policy priorities go to: poorpeoplescampaign.org.
NOW IS THE TIME
Now is the time to center the needs of those impacted by poverty and demand a policy agenda that benefits everybody.
The priorities above are Constitutionally consistent, morally defensible and economically sane. They come out of the lives, struggles, agency and insights of the 140 million and their moral, economic and legal allies. They embody a politics of love, justice and truth that can defeat the politics of death, heal the nation and bring us down the path towards genuine democracy.
Forward together, not one step back!
(Rev. William J. Barber II is a member of the National NAACP Board and a pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC. He is co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival along with the Rev. Liz Theoharis, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, who is also Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary.)