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Chapter 4.

A Moral Fusion Coalition is Collective Recovery

Portrait of Dominic Moulden wearing a grey suit and smiling

“No one will come out of this well if they are focusing on their individual healing or if they're focusing on the healing of one specific community. We want all communities to be healed.

- Dominic T. Moulden

In this chapter, you will learn:

  • about Collective Trauma Recovery as a critical element of any organizing work 

  • how Moral Fusion Coalition can be a practice of Collective Recovery

  • why both of these practices are vital for the overlapping crises we’re experiencing today

Collective Recovery is a way for communities to heal from collective traumas, including devastating hurricanes, deadly pandemics, systemic racism, poverty, and other forms of oppression. 


Interconnection and interdependence are at the core of collective recovery.  Disasters and discrimination wound communal life, fracturing the routines and institutions that bring us together and provide care, comfort, connection, purpose, and joy. Fear and despair incline us to retreat and isolate from others, but our healing is stronger when we heal together. 


Collective Recovery doesn’t require us to invent anything new.  Healing can be built into our existing networks through four tasks: remember, respect, learn and connect. In 2016 the University of Orange created a guide for building Collective Recovery into what you do.

Shining Lights in the Lingering Night was a great example of a 2019 observance that put to use the four tasks of Collective Recovery: Remember, Respect, Learn and Connect. Produced by The New School’s College of Performing Arts in conjunction with the 400 Years of Inequality Organizing Committee and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the observance brought together many voices—both past and present. As you watch the video below, watch for moments where the four tasks of collective recovery are at work.

Shining Lights in the Lingering Night, Oct 14, 2019. Video by Off-White Media.

A moral fusion coalition is an alliance in which members are collectively committed to transformational change–transformational fusion–and aligned in their moral values.  For example, a shared moral value of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, is that people should come before profit.

Logo of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Coming together in coalition is fundamental to mending the fractures inflicted through the ecology of inequality. 


The 400 Years of Inequality project facilitated communities and organizations in Collective Recovery with language (the ecology of inequality) and tools (place-based observances) that brought people together, bridged differences, increased solidarity, and honored the pain and joy of our histories. These observances allow us a glimpse of a just future that we make together. 

Marchers from the Poor People's Campaign

Poor People's Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign is a nationwide coalition of organizations calling for an end to inequality, racism, war, and environmental destruction in the United States by invoking the moral responsibility of a democratic society. In 2014, Moral Monday organizers in North Carolina established an education center to share the lessons they had learned, titled Repairers of the Breach. 


From “About the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival”

In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign. 

Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work. From Alaska to Arkansas, the Bronx to the border, people are coming together to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. We understand that as a nation we are at a critical juncture — that we need a movement that will shift the moral narrative, impact policies and elections at every level of government, and build lasting power for poor and impacted people. 

During the summer of 2018, from Mother’s Day to the Summer Solstice, poor people and moral witnesses in 40 states committed themselves to a season of direct action to launch the Campaign. What ensued was the most expansive wave of nonviolent civil disobedience in the 21st century United States. More than a series of rallies and actions, a new organism of state-based movements was born. Now, in over 40 states, the groundwork for a mass poor people’s movement is emerging.

In June 2019, we convened over 1,000 community leaders in Washington, D.C. for the Poor People’s Moral Action Congress, which included the largest presidential candidates’ forum of the pre-debate season, the release of our Poor People’s Moral Budget, and a hearing before the House Budget Committee on the issues facing the 140 million poor and low-income people in the nation. Over the next nine months, we embarked on a 25+ state We Must Do M.O.R.E. Tour (Mobilize, Organize, Register, and Educate), which led toward an unprecedented Digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 20, 2020. 

In the summer and fall of 2020, we will demonstrate the power of poor people to be agents of change in not just one election, but at the very heart of this democracy.  In this time of significant danger and real possibility, a moral fusion movement is necessary to revive and advance our most precious Constitutional and moral values. But this can only happen if those who are impacted link up with other moral leaders and people of conscience to break through the silos of our work and the divisions that have been wrought in our communities. 

In the coming year, our ranks will increase as we broaden our efforts and stretch the banner of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival even wider. We rise together because:

  1. We rise to demand that the 140 million poor and low-income people in our nation — from every race, creed, color, sexuality and place — are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda. 

  2. We rise not as left or right, Democrat or Republican, but as a moral fusion movement to build power, build moral activism, build voter participation, and we won’t be silent any more!

  3.  We rise to change the moral narrative and demand that the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy/militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism all be ended. 

  4. We rise to challenge the lie of scarcity in the midst of abundance.

  5. We rise to lift the voices and faces of poor and low-income Americans and their moral allies with a new vision of love, justice, and truth for America that says poverty can be abolished and change can come.

If you believe it’s time to rise,  join us!


Learn more and join the coalition at

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