The Congressional Black Caucus held its first national Day of Prayer on Thursday, gathering with faith leaders on the U.S. Capitol’s East Lawn to seek divine help to end poverty and income inequality.
Hours after President Obama attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast, the lawmakers prayed for America to be awakened to and united against the plight of those living below the poverty line even as the nation’s richest get richer.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, chairs the CBC’s Task Force on Poverty and the Economy, and so was front and center at Thursday’s event.
“As millions of families continue to live below the poverty line, and the gap between the wealthiest in our nation and all others continues to grow, it is more important than ever that members of the Congressional Black Caucus and interfaith leaders stand in solidarity to pray for the consciousness of America to be awakened and united against this startling and unconscionable trend,” Lee said at the event.
The Rev. Stephen McHale of Christ Episcopal Church in Alameda and the Rev. Diana McDaniel of Unity Church of San Leandro were among the clergy who gathered at the Capitol. Other East Bay clergy leaders are scheduled to gather for a similar prayer service at 4 p.m. Thursday in Oakland’s Allen Temple Baptist Church.
Lee last May introduced H.R. 2182, the Half in Ten Act, which would create a federal interagency working group on reducing poverty and develop a national strategy on cutting poverty in half within a decade. She recently used her seat on the Appropriations Committee to insert language supporting these principles in the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress and signed into law by the president.