In the United States, more than 37 million people live in poverty. And according to a group of faith leaders, over 20 million Americans are being pushed back into poverty because of congressional inaction. 

Following a global health crisis, economic downturn and a steep rise in the cost of living, the Poor People’s Campaign, led by Bishop William J. Barber II is putting out a National Call for Moral Revival, and urging Congress to act before the midterms on critical moral and social issues that directly impact millions of vulnerable neighbors. On Thursday at 11 am, Barber, joined by religious leaders and members of Congress will sound the alarm.

“Before they vote, the American people deserve to know – on the record – where their elected officials stand on these great moral issues,” says Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. 

According to organizers, over 50 million people in America, including all races, work for less than a living wage and are impacted by voter suppression. “Millions of children and families have been thrown back into poverty this year by the Senate’s refusal to extend the child income tax credit,” states an event press release shared with EBONY. “While recent U.S Census data show that the number of poor and low-income people dropped from 140 million to 112 million in 2021, the policies that brought this relief to tens of millions of families have not been extended.” 

On Thursday, organizers are expected to highlight why lawmakers in Washington can not simply accept inaction when it comes to a myriad of issues including voting rights and living wages. The livelihood of the American people are on the line. Stalled discussions have made the matters at hand more dire. 

For more than a year the John Lewis Voting Rights Act has been held up in the Senate. The National Eviction Moratorium continues to lay in limbo. Funding for federal programs to help those reeling from the events of the last two years continue to be struck down. And nationwide, Americans are feeling the pinch.   

Those advocating for Congress to act say that a raise in living wages would lift 52 million people out of poverty. The current voter suppression tactics will block roughly 50 million people from using the voting methods they used in 2020. And the expanded Child Tax Credit that Congress approved during the pandemic and then canceled would immediately lift 4 million children out of poverty. 

“Voters deserve to know if candidates want to reinstate these laws,” says Barber, “or if they support letting people live in poverty, be blocked from voting and children going hungry.”