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.
Hi, everyone! My name is Becca Forsyth and I'm here representing Mothers Out Front Southern Tier and the Elmira Poor People’s Campaign. We are a small group that is a part of a National Call for Moral Revival. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King called on us to stand against what he called the triplets of evil- systemic racism, poverty and the war economy. Today, we revive this call and add to the list the evil that is ecological devastation and a distorted moral narrative.
We are shifting the narrative by shifting the narrator.
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.
But the struggle is made even harder by the narrative of condemnation that the poor face each and every day. This immoral narrative says that we are greedy, lazy, sponges that take and take and don’t give anything back. But that’s not true! 8 out of 10 adult SNAP recipients who are neither disabled nor elderly have worked within in the last year, and more than half of us have worked within the last month. Many of the poor work multiple jobs at immorally low wages and still can’t pay their bills. That’s not lazy, that’s not greedy, and that’s not right!
There is no sugar-coating it. Both of these Supreme Court cases will have negative consequences on real people, in New York State and throughout the country and world.
The scope of those consequences, though, is up to us. We will respond to anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and anti-worker forces the same way that movements for justice have always defeated their opponents: solidarity, organizing, and direct action.
But while Moses had an instinct for justice, he didn’t have a method. His behavior was powerful and inspiring - it was also impulsive, violent and ultimately inadequate. There was a whole system which allowed Egyptian cops to beat innocent Hebrews at will, but Moses didn’t address that – he simply acted on what he saw.
And when I contrast my lengthy length of stay in the New York City shelter system with the Declaration of Independence's creed, it is clear to see that housing is a human right.