by Karen Laslo
Greg Shafer, Northern California representative to the Poor People’s Campaign, told a Chico audience of about 200 people Sunday that the “American Tree of Greed must come down,” and that it’s responsible for the environmental degradation, endless wars and the prison-industrial complex that cause suffering, in particular for the poor.
Shafer asked, “But who will cut the Tree of Greed down?” Not the government, not the rich and powerful, not the corporations, he said, responding to his own question. Shafer said America must listen to the African-Americans who’ve been warning for years that the tree’s fruit is toxic. Shafer told the crowd, “We need a new Poor People’s Campaign.”
Shafer was the keynote speaker at the annual MLK Beloved Community event at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Chico. In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke about how morally wrong it was that U.S. leaders were sending poor people to war to kill others. But, Shafer said, making the powerful uncomfortable can be dangerous. Soon after that speech, King was assassinated.
King’s birthday was Jan. 15, but is often celebrated on the third Monday of the month, which is today, a holiday.
Karen Laslo is a freelance contributor to ChicoSol.