With the end of the legislative session approaching, the fate of several critical pieces of legislation is still uncertain. Over the next few weeks, our elected officials need to feel the pressure from all of us to act on housing protections, criminal justice reform, and immigrant rights.
Poor People's Campaign Freedom School Bus Tour
April 4-9, the NYS Poor People's Campaign traveled across Western and Central New York on a National Emergency Freedom School Bus Tour, where we learned about past and present struggles for justice in Buffalo, Geneseo, Elmira, Enfield, Ithaca, Auburn, and Syracuse. Our trip shined a light on the emergencies facing our communities - including farmworker exploitation, food insecurity, mass incarceration, and displacement - as well as the rich history of abolitionist struggle in our state.
We're also holding a report-back webinar on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 pm. RSVP to hear more about what we experienced and what it means for continuing to build a movement in New York.
On Monday, March 18, members of the New York Poor People’s Campaign marched from the Social Security Administration to the Rennselaer Social Services Agency to bring attention to the New York State budget’s underfunding of social programs, even as inequality and poverty devastate Troy, and urban and rural communities throughout the state. The demonstration was part of a statewide day of action across New York, demanding the state government change course and prioritize ending systemic racism, poverty, militarism and ecological devastation. Other actions took place in Elmira, Hempstead, and New York City.
On March 16, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, national co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, gave the 2019 Lamar Lecture at First Presbyterian Church in Albany, followed by a discussion with Willie Baptist of the Kairos Center and Rev. Emily McNeill of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS and the NY Poor People’s Campaign.
We are gathered this morning in a state and nation that is divided. To say we are divided has become almost a cliché. The news and our social media feeds are full of people talking about our divisions - between red states and blue, left and right, between religion, race and nationality. In the last few weeks two New York State Senators have even proposed dividing New York in two, because - they say - upstate and NYC are too different to co-exist.
On any given day there are 25,000 New Yorkers in jails across the state. Almost 70 percent haven't been convicted of any crime, but are locked up awaiting trial because they can't post bail. Pre-trial detention - which can last months and even years - has devastating consequences for those detained and their families. Communities of color and the poor bear the brunt of this injustice.
Many have been following closely and actively engaging in support work for the migrant caravan at the US Southern Border, and many of us have been part of immigrant rights struggles for years.
On Wednesday, December 19th, at 12pm we hosted an online conversation to discuss the current moment in the context of these historical struggles - How did we get here? What is new and different in this moment, and what is a continuation of previous migrations and human rights struggles? What organizing is ongoing, and how can we best support from New York?
As I look back on 2018, I feel great hope for the movement that is building in New York. Across our state this year, new people came together with renewed energy, and with your support, that people power will continue to grow in 2019.