February 2020 Your Opinion Matters

Everybody's Got the Right to Live

(MI), among others, listened to the harrowing personal narratives from homeless people, a deaf student whose financial aid was cut when her father got a small raise, a woman who was arrested and incarcerated in front of her children when she sold food on the street, and many more. The audience was urged not to clap but to shout supportively, "Somebody is hurting our people, and we won't be silent anymore."

Poverty is trauma. Poverty can BY DR. JULIANNE MALVEAUX More than nine hundred people

crowded into the Church of the Epiphany, an Episcopal church in Washington, DC. They had gathered to hear Rev. William Barber, the dynamic and prophetic co-leader (with Rev. Liz Theoharis) of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. They came, not only to hear Rev. Barber but also to sing and bond and listen to poor people tell their own stories.

This late January gathering is

one of many that the Poor People's Campaign is having all over the country, leading up to a Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 20, 2020. With 43 state coordinating committees actively working in communities, Barber and Theoharis are planning to peacefully "take it to the streets" in downtown Washington, and to make the statement that "everybody's got the right to live."

To assert that everyone has a right

to live seems obvious. But many of those who live in poverty have to fight to live. The poor have to scramble to eat, to afford medication, to find an affordable place to live. They have to watch their neighborhoods being decimated by gentrification, as rising housing costs push long-time residents out. As many as 45,000 people a year die because they don't have health insurance. And more than 10 percent of the US population is "food insecure," which means that they either skip meals, eat less at meals, or cannot afford nutritious food. One in six children is food insecure.

Several of the poor people told

their stories, while Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), and Brenda Lawrence

be the source of enormous stress, and perhaps even some mental illness (though you don't have to be impoverished to be crazy!). Poverty or near-poverty impacts 140 million people, nearly half of us. Rev. Barber says we must have "righteous indignation" about poverty.

Instead, we seem to accept

poverty as something we can do nothing about. We walk by homeless people on the street, drive past homeless encampments under freeways. Some of us roll up our noses and are appalled by the odors that some homeless emit without wondering why there are odors and whether there are places where they can get showers or a bath. Some of us find the homeless "unsightly" and lobby to have them moved from visible commercial corridors and upscale neighborhoods to places where we don't have to look at or think about their plight. But homelessness is the most visible manifestation of poverty. And when we endeavor to render the homeless invisible, we are also attempting to eliminate the scourge of poverty. Dr. Martin Luther King once called poverty "an abomination" and compared it to cannibalism. Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated Dr. King's birthday, but there were too few mentions of poverty.

Indeed, while some of the

presidential candidates have paid attention to economic structure, fewer have candidly discussed ways they would reduce or eliminate it. Speeches and debates go by with nary a mention of poverty. The candidates who choose to ignore poverty seem to forget that poor people vote. Or perhaps they are counting on poor people to be absent from the polls, especially when some forms of voter suppression require voters to incur additional costs to vote. Between 2016 and 2018, hundreds of polling places were closed, and if some have their way, there will be even fewer in 2020. Our electoral system is biased against Black people, Brown people, poor people.

Susan L. Taylor to Speak at Grove Church Women’s Conference

The Hampton Roads Messenger 5

Susan L. Taylor BY COURTESY OF GROVE CHURCH Susan L. Taylor, Founder and

CEO, National Cares Mentoring Movement and Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine, will be the keynote speaker for the 2020 P3 (Prayer, Passion, Purpose) Conference that will be held on Saturday, March 14, 2020, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Grove Church, located at 5910 W. Norfolk Road, in Portsmouth. The Conference is presented by the church’s We Are Our Sisters’ Keeper (WAOSK) Women’s Ministry. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $55 for ‘Chew & Chat’ tickets that include lunch (limited quantity available).

Taylor served for 27 years as

the chief editor of Essence Magazine and was the visionary credited with building the brand. Her National CARES Mentoring Movement, founded in 2005 as Essence Cares, is the fastest growing mentor-recruitment organization in the nation. Taylor is the recipient of many prestigious awards, a best-selling author, (In the Spirit), and a much sought-after speaker.

In addition to Taylor, dynamic

featured speakers at the P3 Conference include:


Dr. Kathleen Cabler, Lead Development

Professional, NASA Langley Research Center; Adjunct Professor, School of Business and Leadership at Regent University; and recent author of My Emotions Are Not the B.O.S.S. of Me: Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Dr. LaConda Fanning, Clinical

Director, Christian Psychotherapy Services, Norfolk; and Practicing Partner, Psychological Services of Virginia

Dr. Vanessa Jenkins, Director,

Norfolk State University Counseling Center; Owner and CEO, Sentencing Options, LLC

WAOSK was established in 2019

under the God-given vision of Grove’s Leading Lady Captain Shelley Kay-Marriner, U.S. Navy, Ret., to educate, mentor, and inspire a circle of sisterhood and to help women develop a deeper relationship with Christ. The ministry presents regular sessions that empower women to thrive holistically.

Tickets for the conference,

whose lead sponsor is The Law Firm of Charlene A. Morring P.C., are available for purchase at For more information email waosk@

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