Diana A. Burnett F'21

Diana A. Burnett

Kairos Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice

Leading Edge Fellowships 2021
Kairos Center for Religion, Rights, and Social Justice
Appointed to the Kairos Center for the project "Analyzing the Impact of COVID-19 on Poor and Low-Income People to Transform Conditions on the Ground"
PhD, Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

The Kairos Center is a national organization of grassroots religious and community leaders dedicated to building a social movement to end poverty led by the poor. Our network of leaders and organizations have roots in organized struggles of the poor and dispossessed extending back several decades and are also on the leading edge of social change efforts today. We are one of the two anchor organizations of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. There are over 140 million poor and low-income people living in the United States. 64 million workers earn less than $15/hour, and there is not a single state in the country where a minimum wage job is enough to pay the rent on a two-bedroom apartment. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers are expected to rise as conditions for the majority of working people continue to worsen. The Leading Edge Fellow will join the Kairos Center as part of its policy team to research and communicate the conditions facing poor and low-income people during the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. Working with the Kairos Center’s and Poor People Campaign’s network of grassroots and community leaders, the fellow will engage and interview poor and low-income people who are organizing against these injustices across dozens of states. These first-hand accounts and related research will contribute to breaking down false narratives about the poor and help build power among the poor to transform the conditions that continue to impoverish so many across the country. The fellow’s work will also contribute to policy work focused on housing, health care, welfare, militarism, and lifting the load of poverty for all.