This past Monday I had the privilege of taking part in the Poor People’s Campaign in Detroit, the last of this spring’s 40 days of Moral Action.
This was my first experience with this type of action. Surrounded by people flooding the streets of downtown Detroit, so committed to racial and economic justice, I was deeply inspired to be a part of this community. A priest offered a blessing to all the folks taking part in the action. He asked everyone to reach out and touch the person in front of them. I touched the shoulder of a kind older woman in front of me, she turned back to me and smiled. I think she knew I felt out of my comfort zone. Her warm look comforted me as the priest offered his blessings for all of us. My favorite part of his blessing was the call and response. When he said, “We’re going to speak when the spirit says,” we called out, “Speak!” When he said, “We’re going to shout when the spirit says,” we called out, “Shout!” When he said, “We’re going to act when the spirit says,” we called out, “Act!”
I got chills when the people around me all shouted the final word of each sentence. The energy of that moment stuck with me as we walked to Campus Martius, where "moral witnesses" climbed into the fountain to reclaim water in honor of those who don’t have access to clean water. They distributed the fountain's water to buckets labeled with different cities in Michigan facing a water crisis. As the people around me were taking action, I could hear the priests words’ in my head, calling me to act.