Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg Talks Racism, Poverty At Rev. Barber's Church In Goldsboro

Dec 1, 2019

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg worshiped at Greenleaf Christian Church, a majority black church in Goldsboro, on Sunday.

In an election like this, we have to think about whether we are making ourselves useful to those who are most vulnerable, and those who are most in need. -Pete Buttigieg

The church is on the north side of town. Exposed beams of the A frame ceiling show off wooden slats, and the walls are lined with stained glass windows in deep blues and reds. The choir and worship leaders pack a punch when they get cranked up.

It's also the home church of the Reverend William Barber, best known across North Carolina as the leader of the Moral Monday protests against the Republican-led General Assembly. He has since launched the Poor People's campaign, which advocates for the poorest Americans and fights policies he says benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. In a separate event after the service, Barber implored Buttigieg to think of the poor.

"America can no longer ignore the central issue of poverty and low wealth," Barber said.

Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church Rev. Dr. William Barber II, left, speaks as Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, right, listens during a town hall event organized by The Poor People's Campaign in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Buttigieg has struggled to gain the support of black primary voters. A recent poll found that just one percent of African Americans in South Carolina support the Mayor from South Bend, Indiana.

With a gaggle of press at the event, Barber took the chance to push his campaign. He often directed the conversation back to how Buttigieg would fight poverty.

"We are here to address poverty and low wealth – I want to make sure the media gets this – as a moral crisis!" Barber said.

Buttigieg picked up where Barber left off. Of the myriad topics he discussed – health care, prison reform, global warming, education, voter suppression – he argued in every case that reducing poverty would help.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, left, shakes hands with Greenleaf Christian Church Pastor Rev. Dr. William Barber II, right, during a town hall event organized by The Poor People's Campaign at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

"If we think about the moral imperatives that are at stake right now, in an election like this, we have to think about whether we are making ourselves useful to those who are most vulnerable, and those who are most in need," Buttigieg said.

After the service, several parishioners said they were happy that Buttigieg paid them a visit. Although none said that he had secured their vote, many said they would keep a closer eye on his campaign.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS:

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, middle, speaks during a town hall event organized by The Poor People's Campaign at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg and Rev. Dr. William Barber II speak to the media following the town hall event.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg and Rev. Dr. William Barber II speak to the media following the town hall event.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC