Before and after the worship service tonight, I got a chance to chat with just a few of the thousand-plus people coming to the Mobilization. Here's what they had to say:
Margelet Fields, a special ed teacher from Canton, MS, says that at her school, "We work with underprivileged children every day - they're products of the environment ... Early testing and intervention, that's the key" to helping students do well. Given her firsthand experience with the effects of poverty and environmental injustice, "I really wanted to find out more about [Sojourners and the rest of the M2EP coalition]."
Aaron Carroll might be the person who's come the farthest to attend the M2EP - he lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he works at a Campus-Crusade-like ministry called Campus Outreach (the M2EP providentially fell during a trip he was taking back to the States). "It's been a privilege to be here to hear from Rep. John Lewis, to hear from giants of the faith," Caroll told me. "I really do believe this is going to be a historic occasion - tonight we heard from men and women who have already made history."
Sojourners magazine and God's Politics blog author Onleilove Alston, who's on the Servant Leadership Team of New York Faith & Justice, told me, "I'm very excited to see the church unite around the cause of poverty and begin to carry out the call of Isaiah 61!"
Hannah McConnaughay, who came in from Chicago, said, "As someone who's been involved in Christian service and interfaith justice work for a while, the opportunity to go someplace and commune with people who are all working for one specific goal - of reducing domestic poverty by half and encouraging the MDGs - seemed really inspiring."
Jenna Martin of Arlington, VA, is a longtime Sojo subscriber, but Capitol Hill Day on Tuesday will be her first lobby day: "I feel very new to grassroots participation, so it feels exciting to have an opportunity to get connected!"
Brandy Walker (who'll be writing about the M2EP on her own blog), a young mom from Germantown, MD who goes to Cedar Ridge Community Church, found out about the Mobilization after joining Sojourners on Facebook. "It sounds so big - the idea of ending poverty - that's the draw," Walker told me; she brought a friend, Priscilla Mendenhall, and both of them are looking for ways to stay involved in advocacy after Wednesday. I promised they'd hear a lot of ideas for this in the next few days!
Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners.