Women’s Moral Monday March on Washington set for July 19

Presbyterian pastors will be participating in the event

by Darla Carter | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterians will take part in the Women’s Moral March on Washington, D.C., July 19.

LOUISVILLE — At least 100 women will gather in the nation’s capital at 11 a.m. Eastern Time July 19 for the Women’s Moral Monday March on Washington to fight for democracy, voting rights and a living wage.

The event, which coincides with the anniversary of the first American women’s rights convention 173 years ago, is part of a Season of Nonviolent Direct Action by the Poor People’s Campaign and its partners that began July 12 and continues through Aug. 8.

Participants in the women’s march will champion the stalled For the People Act and decry stumbling blocks such as the Senate filibuster, a long-standing Senate custom that requires a supermajority to advance most legislation.

“Prominent women will call on our Senate and the White House to eliminate the filibuster, pass the For the People Act, expand voting rights and protect the VRA (Voting Rights Act), as well as to raise wages, and then keep on going from there,” said the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a Presbyterian pastor who co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC).

The event is being held on the anniversary of the Women’s Convention at Seneca Falls, New York. During that historic two-day convention, “300 women and men gathered to debate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments,” according to the Library of Congress. “Modeled after the Declaration of Independence, it outlined women’s inferior status and included a radical demand for suffrage.”

 

The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis is the co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and the director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. (Photo by Rich Copley)

“This many years later, we’re in another significant fight for our democracy,” said Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. “We have 140 million people in this country who are poor or one small emergency away from poverty. Seventy million of those people are women.”

Also, “the folks that have been hurt first and worst, both by the economic recession and by the pandemic, as well as the pandemics of racism and poverty that preceded COVID, are again women,” said Theoharis, who also listed “women of color, our poor women, and our poor people from all kinds of races, geographies, and creeds across the country.”

Monday’s gathering outside the U.S. Supreme Court Building will show that women of various faiths are willing to take a stand to push for action to be taken by Aug. 6, the upcoming anniversary of the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Theoharis noted.

One of the people who plans to participate is the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, Co-Moderator of the 223rd General Assembly (2018).

The Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, at right, co-moderator of the 223rd General Assembly with Ruling Elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, at left, said she will be taking part in the Women’s Moral Monday March on Washington. (Photo by Rich Copley)

“For me, this is a direct extension of what it means to be a Matthew 25 church and people” said Kohlmann, Connectional Presbyter and Stated Clerk of New Castle Presbytery. “If we are to dismantle structural racism and eradicate systemic poverty, then part of our work has to be confronting the laws and systems that perpetuate injustice. As co-moderator, I traveled the country and the world lifting up this vision, and now I have the privilege, the ability, and the support to be part of the Women’s Moral Monday March.”

The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, Associate Director of Advocacy for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), said he plans to attend the event as a witness. The Presbyterian Office of Public Witness, which he directs, is part of the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Compassion, Peace and Justice ministries and its leaders are often supportive of the PPC’s positions.

Theoharis noted that people of faith have a “responsibility to ourselves, to our families, to our communities but also to God, to actually engage in the work of promoting democracy and ending injustice.”

For more information about the march and the Season of Nonviolent Moral Direct Action, go here.


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