New York State Poor People's Campaign:
A National Call For Moral Revival
The New York State Poor People's Campaign kicked off 2023 by releasing the Poor People’s State of the State Report, holding a series of Mass Meetings on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, and launching a petition demanding that Gov. Hochul publicly acknowledge the ongoing poverty crisis and convene an in-person meeting with the NYS PPC. To stay up to date on our work in 2023, check out this page, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or visit our website at nysppc.org.
Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS is the anchoring organization of the New York State Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, which is part of a state-based nationwide moral fusion movement to address the five interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy, and militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
The Poor People’s Campaign launched in May 2018 with 40 days of coordinated action in more than 35 states. Nationally, the 40 Days of Action represented the largest wave of civil disobedience in the 21st-century United States. In New York, more than 1300 people participated in direct action in Albany, including 360 people risking arrest in nonviolent civil disobedience.
After the 40 Days of Moral Action, the NYS PPC focused on consolidating emerging leadership and building a statewide infrastructure that supports and connects work in different regions of our state. In October 2018, we convened 110 leaders from across New York for our first People’s Assembly, which included 3 days of political education, skill-sharing, and discussion and planning for shared work.
In 2019 the NYS PPC organized two “Freedom School Van Tours.” The first visited Western and Central NY and the other traveled from the Shinnecock Nation on Long Island to New York City and Albany. Each included two dozen PPC leaders from different regions, who learned about one another's local struggles and reflected on the legacy of freedom movements in New York, particularly the Underground Railroad and the abolition movement. In June, almost 70 delegates from New York attended the national Poor People’s Campaign Moral Action Congress in Washington, DC. Then in October, the second annual People’s Assembly brought together over 100 leaders and activists representing every region of New York, in addition to Poor People’s Campaign representatives from 7 other states.
In January 2020, the NYS PPC brought 200 people from across the state to Albany for the NYS Poor People’s Campaign Day of Action: People’s Needs, Not Corporate Greed. We demanded that lawmakers prioritize guaranteed housing and healthcare for all residents in the legislative session. In response to the pandemic, we pivoted quickly to virtual learning, organizing and advocacy, including holding two virtual town halls on healthcare and housing, co-hosting healthcare storytelling and eviction defense trainings, organizing a virtual political education “summer camp,” and holding our third People’s Assembly online. The NYS PPC also organized and registered countless people to attend the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington: A Digital Justice Gathering. Nationwide, more than 2.5 million people viewed the national program which elevated the stories of those most impacted by the evils of poverty, structural racism, militarism and ecological devastation, and announced the Poor People’s Jubilee Platform, a set of transformative demands.
In 2021, as COVID persisted, the NYS PPC continued to connect and develop leaders through virtual gatherings, including our first Statewide Faith Convening, song circles, a monthly Caring Circle, and online political education programs to dive deeper into organizing strategies from the past and the present. As the COVID vaccine became widely available, the NYS PPC took to the streets again, including hosting 6 simultaneous actions across the state to deliver the Third Reconstruction Resolution to our representatives. We joined in solidarity with the Save Mt. Vernon Hospital coalition, and with striking NYC taxi workers as they fought for and won debt relief. We sent delegations to Washington DC to participate in PPC rallies and marches as part of a nationwide Season of Nonviolent Moral Direct Action.
In 2022, the NYS PPC continued to organize across New York through base-building, direct action, political education, cultural organizing, and leadership development. As part of a nationwide organizing tour, the NYS PPC hosted the national PPC co-chairs in New York City in April, where over 400 people marched down Wall Street before holding a mass meeting at Trinity Wall Street Church. NYS PPC was powerfully represented at the Poor People’s Mass Assembly and Moral March on Washington, D.C. and to the Polls in June, sending 17 buses from across New York. NYS PPC also continued organizing regular political education and leadership development programming, including the fourth People’s Assembly in October.