The national movement called the Poor People’s Campaign held a Poor People’s Hearing in Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 10. An overflow audience heard the heartbreaking stories of an undocumented person, a Native American, a farmer, a low-wage worker, and a veteran. After each of their stories, the audience chanted, “Someone is hurting my brothers and sisters, and we are not going to take it anymore!”
The work of peace in action demands justice for laborers the world over. The dominating cultural ethic in economic practice is exploitation for the benefit of an ownership class; the resistance, hard-fought, has resided in labor organizing into the collective power of unions. These protective organizations for workers remain precarious, now, perhaps, more than ever.
At a rally, Mary Hladky asks, for example, “How are we supporting the troops when many military families need public assistance to make ends meet, while defense contractors rake in record profits?”
Bryan Scarcella, a leader in Stand Up KC, is seeking a $15 an hour minimum wage and a union for low-paid workers. "My low pay," he said March 11 at the PeaceWorks Annual Meeting, "means not having access to health care. It means I haven't turned on the heat in my apartment for years." Both Stand Up KC and PeaceWorks are part of the Poor People's Campaign.
The 2018 PeaceWorks Annual Meeting had a surprise guest: The Lone Ranger. He soon took off his mask, decried the American myth of redemptive violence, and—taking a tip from MLK—asked us to engage in totally restructuring American life.