written by Cece Russell-Jayne
Days after All Souls Indy called Rev. Katie Romano Griffin as our new Minister, Rev. Griffin invited church members to join her in Washington DC for The Poor People’s & Low Wage Workers’ Assembly. Four of us accepted her invitation.
Rev. Griffin, Betty Lynch, Richard May departed Friday evening from Indianapolis on a bus filled with local activists heading for the event. Coveting sleep, Bruce and Cece Russell-Jayne decided to drive to Washington DC on their own.
On Saturday morning throngs of activists were pouring into the venue as busses from all over the country arrived. Although there was a national contingency of Unitarian Universalists, including All Souls Indy, people found places to sit or stand on their own.
Ministers from the Washington DC metro area opened the gathering with an interfaith litany. Unitarian Universalists were well represented by Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister of Cedar Lane UU, Bethesda!
Clearly, this was no ordinary assembly it was a moral revival with a call from Rev. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, to eradicate five “interlocking evils” – “systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and our distorted moral narrative.”
The program included a phenomenal choir and testimonials from working poor people in 30 states, including Indiana, that brought listeners to tears. One of the regional speakers was the grandson of Ruth Whitfield (the 86 yr old woman who died in the Buffalo mass shooting).
Powerful keynote speakers included Rev. William Barber; Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center & daughter of MLK; Dr. Cornel West, (affectionately known as Brother West).
Following the event, Rev. William Barber underscored the message that was the heart of the moral revival:
“We know that when the nation is moving away from the principles of life, liberty, justice, the pursuit of happiness for all people, and there’s been a long train of abuses, and the nation has become more profitable for a few and less perfect for others, we must correct the nation, and we can’t be silent anymore.”