A social justice movement inspired by MLK is waging a new war on poverty

Reverend William J. Barber speaks to demonstrators at a protest organized by the Kentucky Poor People's Campaign in Frankfort, Kentucky, on June 4, 2018.

(CNN)In December 2017, 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. called for a multiracial, nonviolent army of the poor, a new generation of activists resurrected the civil rights leader's boldest crusade: the Poor People's Campaign.

In its first year, the Poor People's Campaign, led by Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis, has made strides in its goal of bringing poverty and economic inequality to the forefront of national discourse. The movement has already established 40 state chapters led by grassroots organizers entrenched in the fight for economic justice.
Taking on broad issues such as inequality, systemic racism, ecological devastation, the war economy and what organizers call the country's "distorted moral narrative" hasn't been without challenges. But people are hungry for a movement that addresses these "interlocking" issues, Barber says, and the Poor People's Campaign is laying the foundation to hopefully change policies and give a voice to America's poor.

    A year of protests and organizing

    Activists occupy the North Carolina State Legislative Building, calling for moral dissent and moral vision in the face of war and gun violence.
    The Poor People's Campaign kicked off the movement last May with 40 days of nonviolent direct action in more than 40 states across the country and in Washington. Each week, state organizers held protests, rallies and demonstrations centered on a specific theme, ranging from the links between systemic racism and poverty to the proliferation of gun violence.