The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is the President and Senior Lecturer of Repairers of the Breach; Co- Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival; Bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; and Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. For more than a quarter century, he has pastored the Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Since Rev. Dr. Barber began his ministry at Greenleaf 29 years ago, the church has sponsored efforts that have led to more than $12 million of community development, in addition to welcoming all into the body of Christ. He is the author of four books: We Are Called To Be A Movement; Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing; The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and The Rise of a New Justice Movement; and Forward Together: A Moral Message For The Nation.
Rev. Dr. Barber is also architect of the Moral Movement, which began with weekly Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 and revived under the banner of the Poor People’s Campaign. In 2018, Rev. Dr. Barber helped relaunch the Poor People’s Campaign—which was begun by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in 1968—with an historic wave of protests in state capitals and in Washington, D.C., calling for a moral agenda and a moral budget. Rev. Dr. Barber has been arrested 17 times for nonviolent civil disobedience. Millions of Americans have participated in Poor People’s Campaign events over the past three years.
A highly sought-after speaker, Rev. Dr. Barber has given keynote addresses at hundreds of national and state conferences, including the 2016 Democratic National Convention. He has spoken to a wide variety of audiences including national unions, fraternities and sororities, drug dealer redemption conferences, women’s groups, economic policy groups, voting rights advocates, LGBTQ equality and justice groups, environmental and criminal justice groups, small organizing committees of domestic workers, fast food workers, and national gatherings of Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other people of faith. Rev. Dr. Barber gave the homily at the 59th Inaugural Prayer Service for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. He spoke at the Vatican in 2017 in response to Pope Francis’s encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” and he was invited again to speak at the Vatican in 2021, at a conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. On June 18, 2018, Rev. Dr. Barber spoke before the 5th Uni Global Union World Congress to more than 25 countries and was added to the Black Achievers Wall in the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England. He has had 10 honorary degrees conferred upon him.
Rev. Dr. Barber served as president of the North Carolina NAACP, the largest state conference in the South, from 2006-2017 and served on the National NAACP Board of Directors from 2008-2020. A former Mel King Fellow at MIT, he is currently Visiting Professor of Public Theology and Activism at Union Theological Seminary and Senior Fellow at Auburn Seminary. Rev. Dr. Barber is regularly featured in media outlets such as MSNBC, TIME, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and The Nation Magazine. Rev. Dr. Barber was named one of BET’s 100 Entertainers and Innovators in 2020, and he is a 2019 recipient of the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor. Rev. Dr. Barber has also received the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center’s Beloved Community Award, and the Puffin Award.