Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, gifts spirited keynote at the Phoenix Awards Dinner.
PHOTO: Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire


WASHINGTON, D.C. -– Saying, “We’ve always had to fight to maintain a proper sense of self,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call to Revival, called on all elected officials, activists and people of good conscious, to stand strong for the poor and powerless, against the mounting oppression they have to face every day.

“So we are here, my sisters and brothers, to cry out on behalf of those who have not yet been heard…because America has always struggled with who she is.”

“What we do has been baptized in blood,” the former president of the N.C. NAACP told hundreds gathered in Washington, D.C. Saturday for the 48th Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2018 Phoenix Awards Dinner.


Audience at CBCF Phoenix Awards Dinner appears spellbound while listening to message from the Rev. William Barber,
“Knowing Who We Are In Times Like These.” PHOTO: Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire

The event has gained notoriety in recent years when the keynoters were President Barack Obama, and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.

Barber recounted how historically, poor White people have been given a steady diet of “Jim Crow” rhetoric by powerful Whites, having them to believe that as downtrodden as they were, “at least they weren’t Black.” Poor Whites “fed” that to their children through the years.

The result – poor Whites being exploited by the powerful, so much so that they vote against their own interests, and do not realize that they should be partnering with African Americans and other communities of color in coalition “fusion” politics, in order to electorally seize control of the nation’s direction.

Rev. Barber warned that to “focus on [Pres.] Trump alone, is to miss what’s happening in America.”

Don’t you think that if Trump were gone, and [Vice Pres.] Pence got in, that things would be better,” Barber admonished.

The civil rights leader also noted that systematic racism is rarely discussed or examined during election year debates, and yet it is at the root of what keeps America divided.

“Racism and White supremacy is not just about hate; it’s about power,” Rev. Barber exclaimed. “White nationalism is about policies, like voter suppression.”

And when we see U.S. Supreme Court-nominee Brett Kavanaugh “breeze through his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, that’s racism,” Barber continued. “When we see Trump get away with doing and saying things that Obama couldn’t get away with even half of, that’s racism.”

Given the stark economic and racial disparities in the areas of health care, education, affordable housing and environmental justice, Barber said. “Our problem in America isn’t that we don’t have enough money. Our problem is we don’t have enough moral capacity.”

“Until we change the moral narrative [of America], we’re subject to get a Trump over and over again.”

Rev. Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, also criticized “religionist” ministers who have rallied around Pres. Trump, saying that he was sent by God.

“We face a challenge that is more fundamental, and more potentially transformative than either party has yet recognized,” Barber said. “This moment is not about whether a [political] party is possible. This moment is about is America possible?”

“America needs a national moral revival. [African Americans] are once again being called upon to be the conscience of this nation.”

Rev. Barber called for a multi-racial coalition, similar to what he created as N.C. NAACP president with Moral Mondays.

“It’s movement time,” Barber declared.