2017 Faith for a Fair NY Conference and Poor People's Campaign Mass Meeting

We are excited to announce the 2017 Faith for a Fair New York Conference and Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting, to be held October 17-18 in Binghamton. This year’s conference will bring together faith, labor and community leaders from across New York with leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, including the Rev. Dr. William Barber.

October 17-18 in Binghamton we will release a report on the Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State’s findings, learn about the national Poor People’s Campaign launching in 2018, and discuss ways to build a stronger statewide movement for economic, social and racial justice in New York.




Conference Program:

Tuesday, October 17 7 - 9 pm - Poor People's Campaign Mass Meeting, United Presbyterian Church, 42 Chenango St.

Free and open to the public (To RSVP for the Mass Meeting only click here.)

Join co-chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis for a Mass Meeting for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to learn about the inspiration, vision and strategy of the PPC, as well as the findings of the Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State.  The Poor People's Campaign will build a broad and deep national moral fusion movement — rooted in the leadership of the poor and dispossessed as moral agents and reflecting the great moral teachings — to unite our country from the bottom up. 

The call for a Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has emerged from more than a decade of work by grassroots community and religious leaders, organizations and movements fighting to end systemic racism, poverty, militarism, environmental destruction & related injustices and to build a just, sustainable and participatory society. We draw on the history, vision and unfinished work of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.

There is a resounding call to save the very soul of this nation: We need a new Poor People’s Campaign for a Moral Revival in America. It is time to become a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.

Wednesday, October 18 9 am - 6:30 pm - Faith for a Fair New York Conference, United Presbyterian Church, 42 Chenango St.


8-9 am - Registration, Breakfast

9-10:35 am - Welcome, Setting the Context: The Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State

  • Rev. Emily McNeill (NYS Labor-Religion Coalition)
  • Mark Emanatian (Capital District Area Labor Federation)
  • Suzanne Flierl Krull (Cuba Cultural Center)
  • Rev. Horace Sanders (Schenectady Inner City Mission)
  • Larry Cox (Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice)

10:35-10:45 am - Break

10:45-noon - Breakout session I

  • Pass the Mic: Storytelling and Leadership of the Poor - Randi Quackenbush, Lyndsey Lyman, and graduates of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier's Speakers Bureau program (Food Bank of the Southern Tier)

In the past, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier (FBST) identified its priorities and strategized in the same way many non-profit organizations do: behind closed doors with a consultant and the board of directors. In recent years, the Food Bank has been making major shifts to include people from all walks of life in our work as we answer the call to join a movement to end poverty led by the poor. Perhaps the most significant of these shifts is the Speakers Bureau program, a public speaking and leadership development training for people with lived experience in poverty and food insecurity.

In order to successfully end poverty, we need people from all class backgrounds working together. This means people traditionally thought of as poor: folks who are unhoused, those who receive benefits and, increasingly, the “working poor.” It also means folks who are considered “middle class” but, in reality, may be one paycheck away from a very different label. This workshop is an opportunity to hear from Food Bank staff and Speakers Bureau Graduates about the challenges and opportunities presented by working across class lines and discuss in small groups.

  • People Power: A social movement view of change - Joe Paparone (NYS Labor-Religion Coalition), Eòghann Renfroe, (Empire Justice Center) 

    Describing the original Poor People’s Campaign, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote "Achievement of these goals will be a lot more difficult and require much more discipline, understanding, organization and sacrifice [than the Civil Rights Movement].”Building the kind of mass movement necessary to end poverty will require a different kind of movement vision than many of us are familiar with. This workshop will analyze power: who has it and how to build it, as well as strategic and tactical considerations required to build a broad-based, mass movement that can win.  

  • The Poor People's Campaign: 1968 and Now - Kevin Kang, Ciara Taylor, Manolo de los Santos (Popular Education Project) 

When the big legislative wins of the civil rights movement began to be implemented in the late 1960s, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and grassroots leaders across the country began to realize that the right to eat at a lunch counter meant little if you could not afford a sandwich. The right to equal pay meant little if everyone was paid poverty wages or when jobs disappeared. As King reflected on even the greatest successes he realized that they must move from reform to revolution and from the struggle for civil rights to the struggle for human rights. And so in 1968 King and an unprecedented network of community and religious leaders from across racial lines--poor blacks, poor whites, poor Latinx and poor natives--began planning a Poor People's Campaign to bring the poor together across lines of division to be an "unsettling force" capable of bringing about a revolution of values around the triple evils of racism, poverty and war. This workshop explores the history of the 1968 campaign and its lessons for our work today. 

Noon - 1 pm - Lunch

1-2:30 pm - Overcoming Race and Class Divides: Panel discussion on building an anti-racist, anti-poverty movement

  • Barbara Smith, author, activist, Black feminist scholar
  • Willie Baptist, coordinator of Poverty Scholars program at the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice
  • John Wessel-McCoy, Poor People's Campaign Program Organizer at the Kairos Center
  • Ciara Taylor, political educator at the Popular Education Project

2:30-2:45 pm - Break

2:45-4 pm - Breakout session II

4-4:15 pm - Break

4:15-5:15 pm - Closing: Where do we go from here? Next steps in building a movement

5:30-6:30 pm - Dinner

Registration information


$75/person includes continental breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday. 

Labor-Religion Coalition understands that making the Faith for a Fair New York Conference accessible to all is vital to its success. We are committed to ensuring that no one is turned away because of financial need. Financial assistance is available to those who need it. Please do not let a lack of funds keep you from attending! To apply for a scholarship please email htraiman@labor-religion.org with your name, phone number, a paragraph about why you want to attend the Faith for a Fair NY Conference, and the amount of assistance you are requesting.

A list of area lodging is available  here. The DoubleTree is the closest hotel to the venue.

We are currently working to see if solidarity housing may be available. If you are interested, email htraiman@labor-religion.org

If you need assistance with travel, we can help coordinate with others in your area. Email htraiman@labor-religion.org to let us know.

If you prefer to pay by check, please call 518-213-6000, ext. 6176

Co-Sponsors of this event include: Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice, FOCUS Churches of Albany, Peace with Justice Committee - Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Eastern Parkway United Methodist, Repairers of the Breach, Social Justice Committee - UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, New York State Council of Churches, New York State United Teachers (list in formation)

If the registration form does not load below, click here to register.