(RNS) — The Rev. William Barber II, a progressive activist and pastor, addressed the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee on Friday (Aug. 23), calling on party leaders to host a presidential debate focused on poverty and to do more to address the concerns of poor and low-income Americans.

The co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, named for the last major campaign of Martin Luther King Jr., Barber insisted that poverty touches all people and regions of the United States and overlaps with related concerns such as racism, voter suppression, healthcare, “ecological justice,” militarism and religious nationalism.

“We have to say the word, ‘Poverty,’” said Barber, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Religion News Service. “We need to lift up the

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