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Bernie Sanders to hold economic inequality conversation at Duke

Bernie Visit 11.jpg
Sen. Bernie Sanders will visit Duke University Jan. 19 to discuss economic equality. Sanders visited N.C. State University April 26, 2017. Photo courtesy of

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II will hold a public conversation hosted by the Duke University Chapel on Jan. 19 at 8 p.m.

The discussion is called, "The Enduring Challenge of a Moral Economy: 50 Years After Dr. King Challenged Racism, Poverty, and Militarism." It will be moderated by the dean of the Duke University Chapel, Luke Powery.

"Through this public conversation, we have an opportunity to bring together the insights of a preacher and a politician on the present-day work toward a just, moral economy," Powery said.

The discussion, addressing the ongoing work for economic justice in America, is part of Duke’s week-long Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration as well as the Duke Chapel’s Bridge Panel series.

“Powery has been moderating conversations from people of different walks of life to talk about an issue of the common good," said James Todd, spokesperson for Duke Chapel.

Barber is national co-chairperson of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a movement started by MLK half a century ago that aims to challenge problems such as systematic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.

Todd said the event is in line with the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign and that the campaign linked issues around racism and economic justice, so reflecting on it's anniversary and King's legacy is a good time to put a focus on our moral economy.

"One of the original prompts for this was that this year is the 50th anniversary of the poor people's campaign that Dr. King began organizing before he was assassinated and then came to fruition as a week-long protest on the national mall after Dr. King's death," Todd said.

Alicia Sun, a sophomore at Duke who supported Sanders’ presidential campaign, is excited to hear what Sanders has to say.

"I've been a Bernie supporter from the beginning, so this is really exciting for me to see him talk in person,” she said. “I'm hoping that seeing Bernie Sanders talk can provide some guidance for people like me who are kind of confused and discouraged by the current political climate."

Free tickets were made available to Duke students on Jan. 11 and then to the general public on Jan.12.

"We announced this event last week on Tuesday and it's gotten quite a strong reception so the tickets that were made available were snapped up in less than 10 minutes," Todd said. 

The event coordinators are expecting more than a thousand people to show up, but the event can also be viewed from a livestream on the Duke Chapel’s website.


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