A part of its ongoing efforts to bring guest speakers to campus to discuss significant social and economic issues related to justice, health, wellness, and community strength, the University of Central Missouri will present the program, “Rev. Dr. William Barber II, We are Called to Be a Movement."

This free public presentation sponsored by UCM’s Center for Multiculturalism and Inclusivity is open to all interested individuals and will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, in Hendricks Hall, located in the Administration Building. Doors open at 6 p..

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Barber is considered the architect of the Moral Movement, and is a sought-after speaker who has presented keynote remarks at hundreds of events across the nation. He has been described by media as “one of the most prominent – and relentless advocates for poor people,” and is engaged in leadership posts for many organizations that address social issues, pursue justice, build community and promote public healing.

Such service includes positions as President and Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, an ecumenical activist group which trains and organizes religious leaders across the nation; co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival; Bishop with the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary and Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary, in New York City.

Barber began his ministry as pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he has served for nearly 30 years, and has been part of efforts that have raised more than $12 million for community development.

He also is a prolific author, having written four Books: “We are Called to be a Movement”; “Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing”; “The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of the New Justice Movement”; and “Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation."

He gained national attention for initiating in 2013 weekly Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly, which were revived in 2018 under the Poor People’s Campaign banner. In the early 1960s, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with help from others, created the Poor People’s Campaign through protests that called for a moral agenda and a moral budget that took place at state capitals and in Washington, D.C. Over the past four years, millions of people have participated in Poor People’s Campaign events nationwide.

His reputation as a strong activist for justice was highlighted on the national stage through a speech he delivered during the final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. He brought the crowd to its feet with his call for moral awakening to combat politics with justice and help bridge America’s racial and economic divide. He said in his speech that some issues are not “left vs. right or liberal vs. conservative, they are right vs. wrong."

“We must shock the nation with the power of love. We must shock this nation with the power of mercy. We must shock this nation and fight for justice for all. We can’t give up the heart of our democracy. Not now, not ever,” he told the DNC gathering.

Barber also presented the homily at the 59th Inaugural Prayer Service for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. He spoke at the Vatican in 2017 in response to Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” and was invited back to speak in 2021. He also spoke in June 2018 to individuals representing 25 countries at the 5th UNI Global Union World Congress and was added to the Black Achievers Wall at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England. Many colleges and universities have honored him, including conferring upon Barber 10 honorary degrees.

Individuals who want to know more about Barber’s visit to UCM are welcome to contact Mona Duncan, administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, at 660-543-4603 or mduncan@ucmo.edu.

More From KIX 105.7