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Hawkins to speak out on Moral Monday

Presbyterian advocacy leader will champion voter rights and a living wage

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins will speak during the Poor People’s Campaign’s Moral Monday event on April 5. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Associate Director of Advocacy will speak at an event being held at 4 p.m. (ET) Monday by the Poor People’s Campaign.

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins will give brief remarks during “Making Holy Trouble,” the campaign’s Moral Monday event featuring people of faith and strong moral conviction lifting up policies that have the potential to improve the country. (Watch here.)

“We do indeed support policies that will heal our nation and provide support for the impoverished in the global community,” said Hawkins, who is based in the Office of Public Witness, which recently merged with the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival brings people together from around the country to “challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism,” according to its website.

Moral Mondays are a time for people to mobilize and take action around various moral issues and most recently, have focused on the Campaign’s policy priorities.

Among the topics that Hawkins will be addressing is the right to vote without hindrance.

“It is extremely important for people of faith to speak out on the right to vote in the face of voter suppression,” Hawkins said. “The state of Georgia has just passed a voter suppression law that is contrary to the teachings of our faith and denomination. In our social witness policy statement, ‘Lift Every Voice,’ the PC(USA) affirms voting by mail, early voting (and) easing absentee ballot restrictions, and endorses the establishment of a national holiday for voting. Each one of these methods is attacked in the Georgia legislation.”

Hawkins also will stress the need for Congress to increase the U.S minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“The church supports a living wage for all workers in this day of unemployment and underemployment,” he noted. “Even for those with jobs, wages have been stagnant for so long that they are barely able to survive on what they are paid. It is frightening to consider the fact that people have to choose between paying rent and utility bills and putting food on the table.”

PC(USA) is collaborating with the Poor People’s Campaign because many of their positions align in areas such as health care, a living wage, housing, voting rights, education and immigration reform.

The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis is co-convener of the Poor People’s Campaign. (Photo by Rich Copley)

“These are efforts the PC(USA) has advocated for decades, and continues to do so,” Hawkins noted. “National staff are informing Presbyterians on policies and programs of the denomination which pursue these goals. Our staff engage in conversations and participate in programs and events of the PPC. The OPW/UN endorses statements by the campaign.”

Also, staff members from the Compassion, Peace and Justices ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency recently had a conversation with PPC’s co-convener, the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a PC(USA) pastor, on the PPC and ways in which the two entities’ priorities align, Hawkins said.

The Office of Public Witness and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations are part of the Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.


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