M2EP Live: Final Day of the Conference (and There's Free Coffee!!)

By Ed Spivey Jr. 4-29-2009

Vincent Harding gave a powerful reflection this morning on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- at least I think he did, because I got here late after getting lost again in the Convention Center. Lost and, well, distracted. Sojourners' Mobilization to End Poverty is not the only conference in this place. There's also the Food Safety Institute's annual conference, which sounds like a really good thing to have, at least annually. But some people weren't satisfied and protested outside the food safety conference, apparently because the wanted food to be even more safe. I would have stopped and inquired, but the police moved them away before I could stop staring rudely. (Like most Sojourners folks, I have a long history with the fine art of the protest, and trust me -- these folks have a lot to learn. They had no signs, no bullhorns, and they hadn't practiced their chants, so it sounded more like slightly-inebriated people rooting for different teams in a sports bar. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

There's also a forensics computer conference going on, and I was disappointed to pass by sparsely-attended workshop rooms with posted topics like "Forensic Accounting." After all, one of the reasons we're here advocating for America's poor is because much of our economic health -- and much of our ability to use that wealth for the greater good -- has been lost because of poor forensic accounting, the science of identifying the bad guys and following their money. I would have brooded more on the subject -- we certainly need more watchdogs over our financial system -- but I saw a really cool monster truck in the next exhibition hall. I don't have a monster truck, but if I did I would color it exactly like this one: bright yellow with orange and red flames. (One doesn't have a monster truck with subtle earth tone shadings, does one?) I'm not sure what the conference theme is for this particular exhibit, but they had free coffee, so what do I care?

Turns out, Sojourners has free coffee today too, but I didn't find that out until I arrived on our third floor location, three flights of escalators, two monster trucks, and a rather thin forensics accounting turnout later.

Admittedly, here at the Mobilization our own ranks are thinning somewhat after two days of prayerful gathering and a long day on Capitol Hill. I checked the papers when I woke up and apparently there's still poverty. (Maybe we should have added another plenary.) But we've got a few follow-up workshops to go, to keep us on track and energized for the work ahead. So, brother and sisters, get your free coffee and get back out there.

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