By Shirin Rajaee

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Across the country, people are coming together to fight against systemic poverty and racism.

A nationwide effort inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. is kicking off a series of action events across at least 41 states. Monday night dozens of cities, including Sacramento, held launch events, a reinvention of Dr. King’s Poor People’s campaign.

“This is an extension of what Dr. King started 50 years ago and it’s wonderful that we’re kicking it off in Sacramento,” says Faye Wilson Kennedy with the campaign.

Hundreds of people of all faiths and races packed Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. They each made their pledge to join the poor people’s campaign- a national call for moral revival.

“We intend to take direct action at state capitols to protest systemic racism, poverty, environmental degradation, and the militarization of the economy,” said Anthony Prince with the campaign.

Through nonviolent protests and a variety of other mobilizing strategies, thousands across the country will be taking part in a 40-day effort of intense advocacy.

“Tonight’s about getting people fired up, building coalitions across neighborhoods, across cities. People will be signing up for trainings,” said Kennedy.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. started the idea of the Poor People’s Campaign back in 1968 to help in the fight against poverty and economic injustice. He helped mobilize a 3000 person protest on the Washington Mall for six weeks. King’s last moments in Memphis during a sanitation worker’s strike was part of that vision before his April 4, 1968 assassination.

But after King’s death, the movement lost momentum. Now 50 years later, there’s a new energy to push for a fairer society.

“I think if enough of us really begin to push back in a nonviolent way it could happen,” said Kennedy.

Organizers say the shooting of Stephon Clark only confirms how critical of a time this is for action in Sacramento to choose justice and equality for all its residents. Clark‘s father-in-law was among the crowd Monday night. He spoke briefly about the fight for justice for Stephon.

“We’ve got to revive this because people are hurting,” said Bobbie Ramey Clark.

“We are gonna challenge the establishment, so get ready Sacramento, get ready,” said Kennedy.

The first day of action starts May 14. To get more info on the Poor People’s campaign, visit this site.

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