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President Johnson’s historic State of the Union address 50 years ago declared war on poverty and unemployment thanks largely to a large and vibrant grassroots movement. The focus then was on civil rights and ensuring that every “citizen” had the opportunity to make a living and live their life in civil liberty. Today, even these civil rights are under attack and basic human rights such as food are not guaranteed. In fact, as we reflect on this 50th year anniversary of the “War on Poverty,” it is clear that public policy has devolved into a “War on the Poor.”

This week marked the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty."  Today, it seems as if the war is no longer on poverty—public policy has devolved into a war on the poor.  With catastrophic cuts being proposed to SNAP and other food support, it is important to reflect on an era when the eradication of hunger was on the political agenda and poverty was treated with more compassion and less condemnation. Below are some powerful quotes from a diverse set of leaders that remind us that food justice is a critical part of social justice. 

Responding to the smart and tireless work of education justice advocates across the country, and a year after the first Congressional hearing on the School to Prison Pipeline, the Departments of Education and Justice jointly issued a set of Federal Guidelines to change school discipline policies to address the widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students

“Recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be a servant.”~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Monday, the nation will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for his unwavering endeavors to end racial segregation, to campaign for social and economic justice, and to protect and defend the basic civil rights, democracy and freedom denied to millions of African Americans and others.

Responding to the tireless work of education justice advocates across the country, and a year after the first Congressional hearing on the School to Prison Pipeline, the Departments of Education and Justice jointly issued a set of Federal Guidelines to change school discipline policies address the widespread pattern in the United States of pushing students out of school

Communities are not just fighting hunger, but also fighting for sources of healthy food in their neighborhoods. Growing food in our communities that is healthy, affordable, and GMO-free is a critical part of any food justice movement. Here are some groups that are taking food production to another level by feeding their communities, reviving tradition, and generating wealth.

South West Organizing Project (SWOP) “Project Feed the Hood”

Moral Mondays and “Fusion Politics” Organizing

As the nation commemorated the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington last month, Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal issued statements claiming that America’s problem is “people being too proud of their ethnic identities and emphasizing their separateness.”

When 250,000 marchers converged on Washington in August 1963, the issues were jobs and freedom. Now, as the crowds came together to mark the 50th anniversary of that seminal event in the civil rights movement, those issues have been joined by others, including one, immigration reform, that wasn't nearly on the political radar then like it is today.

 "They were fighting for equality, and that's exactly what we're fighting for," said Mikhel Crichlow, 28, a native of Trinidad and Tobago now living in Brooklyn. Crichlow said he was going to Washington for the commemoration.

Youth Will Carry the Torch as Washington, DC Prepares to Mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Civil rights and social justice groups from around the country will be convening in Washington DC from Aug 22-28 to construct a new political agenda for the country as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

Remembering Dr. King, the Black Community Organizer

By Makani Themba

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