Past Labor-Religion Projects
In 2017, Labor-Religion Coalition organized a Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State with 3 public hearings in Allegany County, Long Island, and Schenectady that collected testimony from directly impacted New Yorkers, advocates, direct service providers, faith leaders, and policy experts. This series was part of a national Truth Commission on the Right Not to Be Poor, organized as part of the leadup to the Poor People’s Campaign. Following our series of public hearings, we also released a Truth Commission report, in October 2017, at a statewide conference in Binghamton, in conjunction with a Poor People’s Campaign Mass Meeting. You can read our 2017 report here.
The Labor-Religion Coalition held another series of Truth Commissions in 2021 and 2022, highlighting the continuing crisis of poverty, amplifying the demands put forward by directly impacted communities, and helping to connect leaders and groups representing different identities, issues, and regions of New York State. We were joined by community members from across the state to share both stories and wisdom, continuing our work to build a moral fusion movement aimed at achieving economic, racial, and social justice. After our 2021 and 2022 Truth Commissions, we released a series of related reports, which you can check out below:
LAND BACK AND THE 3RD RECONSTRUCTION: A TRUTH COMMISSION WITH THE SHINNECOCK NATION
HUNGER, HOUSING, AND THE 3RD RECONSTRUCTION: A TRUTH COMMISSION WITH THE CAPITAL REGION
THE RIGHT TO HEALTH AND THE 3RD RECONSTRUCTION: A TRUTH COMMISSION WITH THE CAPITAL REGION
LABOR POWER AND THE 3RD RECONSTRUCTION: A TRUTH COMMISSION WITH LABOR IN WESTEN NY
Student Voices: Interconnected
In 2020, the Labor-Religion Coalition released the Interconnected Project, a collection of multimedia submissions from young organizers within the New York State Poor People’s Campaign. In each of their submissions, the organizers shared, reflected on, and analyzed their experiences of being a leader within our movement. Also included in the project are excerpts of interviews with different leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, with which we hoped to show the connections between our current and future leaders, and stress the importance of building an intergenerational coalition.
It is important to note that this project was released in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought real and significant disruptions to our lives, our communities, and our organizing across New York State. In many ways, COVID-19, like many other large-scale crises, highlighted the contradictions within our current political and economic systems and shined a light on our critical need for a moral revolution. During a time in which many people felt disconnected from family, community, and the world at large, this project aimed to express the various ways in which we can all remain connected through our organizing efforts. You can view Student Voices: Interconnected here.
The Fight for $15
In 2015, Labor-Religion Coalition supported the Fight for $15, mobilizing clergy and faith communities, and helping to anchor a Capital District Raise the Wage Coalition. This involved connecting low-wage workers with opportunities to share their stories and experiences, and mobilizing faith communities for strike support days, lobby visits, and other political education activities. The campaign resulted in a significant, but compromised, increase in the minimum wage in New York State, and the struggle for wage increases continues.
One of the biggest lessons we took from that experience was the necessity of leadership development and political education. Whether it was the workers we organized with or the community supporters, we recognized the need to deepen our collective understanding of not only the immediate issue but of the wider social and political forces, as well as the strategies and tactics of our opponents, if we were to build a lasting movement against poverty.