Skip to main content

poverty

"Forward Together - Not One Step Back"

     A 14 hour bus trip is a long enough to learn a few things. The first was the call and response that is the center piece of The Poor People’s March on Washington. Here it is -

“Forward together” and the reply is “Not One Step Back”. It seems so simple. And it is. But it is also the bedrock of the Third Reconstruction of America. The Moral Reconstruction of America.

      The first Reconstruction, right after the Civil War, failed because violence and racism was too popular for many institutions, businesses and people. The Second Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement, failed because too many people were willing to hurt their own future, their own families, their own country rather than let other people have freedom and some political power. We’ve seen it in the Senate hearings, in the current Texas RNC platform that calls for secession, in the fact that in the 1960’s small towns all over the South filled in their city pools rather than integrate. So this time we’re taking everyone forward. Our allies and our enemies.

“Forward Together” “Not One Step Back”

     That means we can’t leave anyone behind. If that means that Baptist ministers have to join the campaign for trans rights; that’s what has to happen and on June 18th, it did happen. It means that if union organizers are with a bunch of artists and a paper mâché tank, they are together. It means that disabilities have to be taken into account, that age and accidents have to be provided for.

“Forward Together” “Not Step Back”

     Was the event perfect? No. Were there problems? Oh, yeah. Whenever you have thousands of people, you have problems. But they are an organization that anticipated those problems. It began on the buses, with gift cards to cover meals on the road and even gas to get to the bus. Because they assumed they were attracting poor people.  At the event, there were moveable ramps so that wheelchair users didn’t have to go down a block to go up a curb. Cooling areas for the elderly or overheated. There was glorious chaos. There were problems finding food. Some groups fed their own people first. The sandwiches were cheese or BBQ and some people missed the old hand made turkey or peanut butter. New Mexico had free vegan tacos that could blister a Wisconsin tongue. Ice cream trucks circled the outside. Free food attracts random homeless people. That’s Ok. They too are going forward.

“Forward Together” “Not One Step Back”

     There were speeches by Rev. William Barber II, Yolanda King, music, dancing and representatives from all 50 states talking about their own personal issues in poverty, incarceration, homelessness, lack of healthcare, being gay, being trans, being undocumented, chronically ill. Some of which we missed because our bus got lost. It’s OK. Progress is messy.

     It was fun, trading signs, flags, and pins. Seeing heroes in real life and sneaking off to an ice-cream truck. Trying to meet up with people when cell phones are dead, buses being late. Cleaning up behind us because sanitation workers are people too. Will there be sacrifices in this movement? Yeah, like being last in line for pizza, having sore feet for days, wearing a mask on a 14 hour bus trip. Freedom is worth the cost.

“Forward together” “Not one step back”

     I’ve seen the future IF If --we all come together. A future where there is plenty for all because money isn’t wasted on war and hate. Where we can find food and shelter for all. Where healthcare is a right and no dies by violence.

“Forward Together” “Not One Step Back”

     Remember this when someone says that “those people’s” rights can wait or don’t matter. That can’t be true. Whether Texans or trans we need to go-

“Forward Together” “Not One Step Back”

ESTHER member Joyce Frohn and her daughter Elizabeth attended the "Poor People's March on Washington DC" this past month.

Syndicate content