El paso, TEXAS
we must do M.O.r.e. tour
Report Back - September 25, 2019
Last week in El Paso, Texas, we began the 9-month, 25-state “We Must Do M.O.R.E.” Tour of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. In partnership with our friends at the Border Network for Human Rights, we chose September 18 because it was the 56th anniversary of the funeral of three of the four girls who were killed in the Birmingham church bombing. At that funeral, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “death comes to every individual,” but “death is not the end.”
El Paso is still grieving the deaths of 22 people who were gunned down by a hateful white supremacist on August 3rd. America is grieving the violence of gun deaths and the on-going policy violence against 140 million poor and low wealth people in this country. But grief is not the end. We went to El Paso to say to the nation, “We must do M.O.R.E.” — Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, and Educating (M.O.R.E.).
Just as we are preparing to do in communities across the country, we started in El Paso with community canvassing. Going door-to-door to meet folks in their community, we registered people for the movement who will vote. We invited neighbors to join us at All Saints Episcopal Church, where we held a “Moral Monday” mass meeting and livestreamed to thousands across the country the powerful voices of those in El Paso who are directly impacted by immoral anti-immigrant policies.
At our mass meeting, Margarita Morales shared how her daughter was working at the Wal-Mart when the shooting occurred on August 3rd. “We almost crashed because we were driving at high-speed to get to the Wal-Mart. That distance between where we were and the Wal-Mart was an eternity for us.”
She received a call from her daughter who told her she was outside the Wal-Mart, near the Cielo Vista Mall, but she told Margarita she was afraid of dying. Fortunately, Margarita found her daughter and brought her home safely, but she told us, “When we got home and read what the shooter wrote (the racist manifesto), there was a lot of anger. We were very upset, but at the same time, very sad, because of the people that had died. Because it was a direct attack against my family, against Mexicans. … I will not remain silent.”
On Tuesday, we held a press conference at the offices of the Border Network for Human Rights, where local TV and news media learned about our plans for the nationwide tour, as well as for the #ElPasoFirme (“El Paso Strong”) March on the Border and Call to Action Against White Supremacy rally on Wednesday.
Then we gathered the next day at the corner of Father Rahm Avenue and El Paso Street and marched to San Jacinto Plaza, where we held a rally and livestreamed to the nation once again.
Olinka Green drove all the way from Dallas, Texas, to be part of the rally, and spoke about the environmental racism of the three toxic “superfund” sites in her community. “Our children are dying,” Olinka told us. “Our children are developing skin cancer. Our women are developing breast cancer. We are being attacked by the corporate Klu Klux Klan. White supremacy used to be in a sheet. Now it is wrapped up in a corporate business suit. … They’re not just shooting us down at Wal-Mart. They’re killing us in the air. They’re using a weapon that we cannot see when they poison our water.”
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is demanding more from America. This M.O.R.E. Tour is about turning our demands into action. We began in El Paso a 25-state tour leading to a Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 20, 2020.
We are partnering with poor and low wealth communities across America to say that death will not have the last word.
This campaign is declaring we must do M.O.R.E.:
M—mobilize poor people and their allies.
O—organize moral fusion coalitions that will work together for the common good.
R—register people for a movement that votes &
E—educate our neighbors about the moral crisis we all face in this moment.
The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival believes what the Scripture says: We are not of those who shrink back, who quit, but we are those who press on to the salvation of the soul. This movement is about saving the soul of this nation.