This book, ‘The Third Reconstruction”, will help us collectively ground ourselves in the legacies and ever-changing realities of what it is like to be poor, working, or in social justice work in America. As we all get ready to meet one another again for our 2nd How We Will Forum in Chicago, we invite a deeper understanding into what are the pillars of racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy. By reading this critical text, we also hope that it will plant some seeds of question and reflection within our minds and hearts about the urgency of intersecting our own work with the communities most impacted by the system(s) in our world. While we may all understand far too well that these systems do not work for anyone but for those aiming towards corporatism, commodification, wealth, and exclusivity, we hope to uncover at How We Will, practical beginning steps which offer a 3folded solution to our failing system. We are excited for what will emerge with everyone at the forum, and also hope you’ll delve deeply into this book which provides a modern-day hero’s journey, rooted in deep thinking, feeling, and willing. It offers a true hope that organizing and/or supporting social justice movements is an integral piece of healing our whole society and transforming it from inside out, to back inside.
An Offering & Invitation by Dottie Zold
After the How We Will: Threefolding our Cultural Revolution forum last year, our Elderberries Threefold colleagues found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Reverend William Barber, co-founder of Moral Mondays North Carolina, and Reverend Liz Theoharis of the Kairos Center have picked up the karmic threads of Dr. King’s unresolved campaign of the same name begun in December of 1967. The Third Reconstruction, a book written by Dr. Barber with Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, is our study guide for How We Will which tells the story of his work in organizing a moral revolution in our time.
In 1968, after Dr. King’s death, the campaign would continue and most importantly create an image of a threefold society in their Resurrection City habitation on the grounds of the National Park in Washington D. C.. Rain clobbered them as well as the political machinations that sought ways to divide and conquer their becoming brotherhood at all costs. For Steiner students, I would share my own research speaks of a connection of Dr. King, Abraham Lincoln, and Gandhi to 869 when the religious powers that be stated we were no longer body, soul, and spirit, but body and soul, which has a few qualities of spirit. Dr. Barber has co-founded a research group called Repairers of the Breach connected to his Moral Monday work in North Carolina.
Kait and I felt infinitely challenged during a meeting with Reverend Barber and his colleagues, where we were invited as one of the initiatives to meet after their rally in Los Angeles. A round of introductions were taking place where we would hear ‘we have 75,000 people nationwide and 25,000 in California’. Another would say ‘we have 50,000 people nationwide and 15,000 in California’. We looked at each other the closer the sharing circle came around to our chairs: what could we possibly say to this group?… We have 7 Moral Monday members???? What a moment! I felt so shy and thought ‘oh, wow, we really do not fit into this group at all! We really have nothing to offer considering the enormity of these other groups and individuals.
Fast forward two months later and shockingly enough it came to be that Kait Ziegler was chosen as a Co-Chair of California, Destiny Nolen as the Arts and Culture Chair, Frank Agrama the videographer for the state, and myself a co-chair of the Nonviolent Moral Fusion Direct Action working group! Caleb Buchbinder would join us as a Social Media strategist and Natasha Agrama as the Theomusicologist. One other member of our Moral Monday Los Angeles team, Mylene Carberry would be an indispensable lead on the Media team. What an astounding turn of events from that first meeting: from mustard seed to tree in 60 days! And we were good for it! Kait and Destiny led the way up in Sacramento, staying there for 60 days. Caleb became the recorder of the event through social media, and Nancy and Gordon Poer’s White Feather Ranch offered the stabilizing and nourishing environment that allowed our community to ride up on Sunday, stay at the ranch and then back home on Monday or Tuesday after the rally. Myself, Daniel, Kait and Frank were arrested the last Monday standing for shifting the narrative in our country to one that includes ‘the least of these’ as Dr. Barber is wont to say.
The Third Reconstruction, written in 2013, moves from Abraham Lincoln standing in the midst of abolishing slavery, to Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement and now to our time which seeks to put things as right as they can be towards a beloved community. As we know, Rudolf Steiner shared that he and his students would return within 80 years as earth evolution needed something new implanted for the future. Whether the Steiner students hold this has happened does not absolve them from doing the most they can in this time to bring forth the conditions for a healthy social organism in our time. This book speaks of Dr. Barber’s own beginnings and struggles as he worked to be a man of his time seeking to be an uplifting force in the world today.
A quote from the Appendix – Fourteen Steps Forward Together
“Use moral language to frame and critique public policy, regardless of who is in power.
A moral movement claims higher ground in partisan debate by returning public discourse to our deepest moral and constitutional values. Any moral movement must study Scripture and sacred texts as well as state constitutions. We cannot allow so-called conservatives to hijack the powerful language of faith’ neither can we let so-called liberals pretend that moral convictions are not at play in public policy debates. Every budget is a moral document – or it is an immoral one. We must reclaim moral language in the public square.” — Rev. Dr. William Barber
“Resist the ‘one moment’ mentality; we are building a movement!
No one victory will usher in beloved community; no single setback can stop us. We are building up a new world, moving forward together toward freedom and justice for all.” — Rev. Dr. William Barber