Armed with a new study documenting the deadly poverty that plagues the US, coalitions in at least 40 states are preparing for 40 days of direct action to demand an end to public policies that hurt the most vulnerable. Through deep research and interviews with those living in dehumanizing conditions, “The Souls of Poor Folk” shows why America is in need of a modern fusion movement.
Five years ago this month, about 100 people rallied at the North Carolina legislature to protest its extremist policies, which included passing the most restrictive voting law in the country, blocking Medicaid expansion, cutting unemployment benefits, and eliminating the state Earned Income Tax Credit benefiting low-income families.
Under the leadership of Rev. William Barber II* — then president of the state NAACP and one of the first arrestees — the Moral Monday movement led to the arrests of nearly a thousand people and spread to other states. The protesters were inspired by the Reconstruction-era Fusion Movement, which brought together a multiracial coalition of Populists and Republicans to elect one of the most progressive legislatures in state history just decades after the end of slavery, only to be eventually overthrown by white-supremacist Democratic vigilantes.
Influenced …read more