On June 18th, Kevin Lovelady was arrested at the New York State Capitol with the Poor People's Campaign. Later that evening, he testified to the City of Albany Common Council about why he participates in the campaign.
Good evening president, council.
My name is Kevin Lovelady. I've never spoken to a city council before. But I'm here tonight to speak about the Poor People's Campaign, a National Call for a Moral Revival, which I'm sure you all know has been happening here - and in 38 other state capitals - for the last six weeks. I want you to know that I'm not a paid representative, not a professional organizer or professional activist. I'm a landscaper. I'm new to Troy, after living 10 years in NYC, where I lived in single room occupancy apartment, called a SRO, a room 6 by 11, 66 square feet, with no kitchen. That's what I could afford in the city on my wages, which, since 2007, have stayed the same, or have actually gone down, despite the increase in cost of living. But I'm not here for me.
I'm here for my grandfather, a quarry worker, who died after a routine surgery. He died because an insurance company decided to move him to a nursing facility after surgery, instead of keeping him in the hospital. My grandfather died en route to the nursing facility, he died because the insurance company did not want to pay to keep him in the hospital for one more day. His insurance company killed him, because they did not want to pay.
I'm with the Poor People's Campaign for my friend Michael, an ex of mine, who's had HIV, now technically AIDS, for 11 years. He's disabled by the disease and is too sick to work. This year, when his housing fell through in Los Angeles, he had to move to Las Vegas. He had to move away from his home town and everyone he's ever known, because he could not find, even though he's on assistance, an apartment in Los Angeles that he could afford, where he could have have his own private toilet.
I'm with the Poor People's Campaign for my neighbors in North Central Troy: a Puerto Rican family who collects scrap metal to make a living as their house crumbles around them. They can't get good food for their kids because there's no grocery stores near them and they can't grow any food on their property, because the soil is contaminated with lead and industrial chemicals.
And I'm with the Poor People's Campaign for everyone, because the issues the campaign deals with are the public issues that will affect everyone. The systemic evils that the campaign addresses: racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy, these are public issues. And these public issues will get to everyone's private door - if we don't actively stand up against them. You might think that these issues won't affect you personally, that they don't matter. But I urge you to take a closer look. Because even if these issues aren't currently impacting you, they will, sometime soon, affect someone you love: a family member, your friends, a neighbor, your community. These public issues will get to everyone's private door.
So for the last six weeks, around the country, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has been directly addressing these issues. I feel so lucky to be in the Capital Region, to have been able to participate every week here at the seat of state government. It's been amazing; for me directly facing these issues with other New Yorkers has been amazing. And we haven't been out there just for ourselves, we've been out there for everyone - for me, you, for our communities. Raising our voices to stop these evils from causing any more impact, working together to build a future where everyone can be free from suffering.