The Reverend Doctor William Barber called for a third reconstruction in the U.S. and pointed out how the pre-COVID “normal” economy was “already a struggle” for too many.
July 4, 2020

The Reverend Doctor William Barber called for a third reconstruction in the U.S. and pointed out how the pre-COVID “normal” economy was “already a struggle” for too many.

While Donald Trump hypes the latest jobs report and stock market gains, people who live and work on Main Street, not Wall Street, know that our economy was sick before the coronavirus pandemic and it still is.

Appearing on AM Joy this morning, Dr. Barber issued a powerful call to use this moment for economic transformation.

BARBER: The Poor People's Campaign, over 2.7 million people, joined our assembly a few weeks ago to say this nation, this nation has to move away from this neoliberal concept and start looking at how we address 140 million people living in poverty.

It's not a matter of Democrats or Republicans. All of us have to do that. If you listen to our political debates, you don't hear the word “poverty.” I wish, even as we were talking about in the midst of what must be done on July 4th, it's race and poverty. It's not is it race or poverty, it's race and poverty. We must talk about reconstruction.

When Trump gives this lie, it's the very reason 168 clergy are saying that -- like Frederick Douglass did 168 years ago -- we must expose the hypocrisy: that we have 40% of poor people who made $40,000 and under will lose their jobs in the midst of this pandemic. Millions more will become poor on top of the already 140 million poor. We have still not provided essential workers the essentials that they need -- living wages, sick leave, decent unemployment, rent protection, ensuring that their utilities can't be cut off. These are the realities.

So, you can talk about, as you said, you know, a few jobs he's claiming that have been recovered, but the economy is far from recovered. And there were people in trouble before the pandemic. 700 people were dying a day before the pandemic. And what Trump has done and his allies, McConnell, has engaged in an unholy rebellion, revisionist history, against God-ordained justice and has fundamentally undermined voter protection, policies to lift up the poor. He undermines health care. He undermines immigrant justice. And we must transform from that. And I agree with my friend, it's not about going back to normal. Normal was already a struggle. We must go to reconstruction, a third reconstruction in this nation.

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