Rev. Dr. William Barber II Joins Memphis Community Rally Against Pipeline Just Days Before Important City Council Vote

Memphis, TN (TN Tribune)–Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach joins the rally at the invitation of MA rally sponsored by the Memphis Community Against the Pipeline, days before an important vote by the Memphis City Council on adoption of an ordinance to protect the Memphis sand aquifer. The proposed ordinance requires any pipelines or companies threatening the drinking water to have further review.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. CT/ 4 p.m ET Sunday, April 18 at Alonzo Weaver Park, 730 W. Mitchell Road, Memphis, Tennessee (Parking: Mitchell High School, 658 W. Mitchell Rd) & online at

Rev. Barber and the Poor People’s Campaign wrote to the Memphis City Council in February, the Byhalia crude oil pipeline “is a textbook case of environmental racism, injustice, and environmental degradation. In targeting the Southwest Memphis neighborhood, and the greater Memphis area, this project hopes to force low-wealth Black communities to carry this billion-dollar corporation’s oil barrels on their backs with no public benefit. In the US, between 1986 and 2013, there have been nearly 8,000 incidents of pipeline leaks (around 300 per year).

If this pipeline were to leak it would contaminate the local aquifer, which provides drinking water to Memphis and the North Mississippi counties of DeSoto and Marshall, with carcinogenic crude oil. Not only is the Byhalia Connection Pipeline plan proposing the construction of a high-pressure crude oil pipeline above your city’s water aquifer, it is along an active earthquake zone, greatly increasing the potential for a spill. In the case of an earthquake, the impacts to the community from this project would be devastating.”

Nationally, more than 140 million poor and low-income people live in the United States, or 43% of the country’s population, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic, and 250,000 die each year from poverty. Among those 140 million people are: 52.2% or 39 million children (below 18);  41.9% or 21 million elders (above 65); 42.6% or 65.8 million men; 45% or 74.2 million women; 60.4% or 26 million Black people; 64.1% or 38 million Latinx people; 40.8% or 8 million Asian people; 58.9% or 2.14 million Native/Indigenous people;  33.5% or 66 million white people. The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, with organizing committees in 45 states, is building a moral fusion movement to address the five interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism and a distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. Our demands are reflected in our Jubilee Platform.