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Faith Convening, Black Reconstruction, and a Call to Action

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

FAITH CONVENING On February 15th The New York State Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and Labor Religion Coalition co-hosted a full-day faith convening where we had speakers across lines of religious difference speak on the values of solidarity and dignity for all. We recorded the event and uploaded it to our YouTube Channel. Please watch and let us know your thoughts and reflections! Inspired Opening Words by LRC board member, Rev. Andrew Wilkes: "The black feminist scholar-activist Toni Cade Bambara argued that it is the duty of artists to make revolution irresistible. If we suppose that faith leaders are both artists and artisans of liberation, perhaps our job is to shift the moral narrative from a storyline of “do it yourself” personal responsibility to a moral narrative of economic justice, human dignity, and universal, decommodified access to public goods like housing and healthcare. In particular, given Bambara’s wisdom, how can we make the work of organizing a movement across lines of division irresistible, beautiful, and enchanting? Suppose for a moment: that making the movement irresistible is as important as making policy demands whose logic is irrefutable."

REFLECTIONS ON W.E.B. DU BOIS’ BLACK RECONSTRUCTION On January 28th we launched a collective book study of W.E.B. Du Bois' Black Reconstruction. We will be engaged in this study for the next few months. Our executive director, Rev. E. West McNeill has some inspired words about this collective study, why it is so imperative we engage in the study of this history now, and how it can inform us all how to engage in the present. Reflection by Rev. E. West McNeill: Rev. William Barber, the co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign, has been speaking and writing for years now about the advent of a “Third Reconstruction” - a new revival of democracy and racial and economic justice that carries forward the unfinished legacy of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. We don’t yet know what will come of the upheaval of the last year, but certainly, the pillars of our economic and political order have been shaken, and all over we can see seeds and sprouts of a growing anti-racist and pro-human rights movement. And so we must ask ourselves if we are at a historical moment of opportunity, will we be ready? Will we learn not only from the successes but also the mistakes and missed opportunities of our ancestors? The white workers were not just connected to the 4 million enslaved Black workers of the South in a moral or spiritual sense. Their fates were connected in a very material way. As Dubois argues convincingly if the white labor movement could have understood how much their interests were undermined by slavery and the devaluing of Black lives and labor, if the Abolition movement could have understood the plight of poor immigrant factory workers, they could have joined to take on the Northern capitalists and Southern planters and - in Dubois’s words - “become irresistible.”

CALL TO ACTION We will be participating in the Moral Monday actions with The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival as we lift up these 14 Policy Priorities to Heal the Nation: A Moral and Economic Agenda for the First 100 Days. Follow the hashtags #MoralMonday and #MoralNY to stay tuned for actions happening virtually across the nation. There will also be simultaneous socially distant actions. On Monday, March 15th at 3 pm we will be going to Albany to deliver all of our demands to the State Capitol. Details coming soon. Join us online or in-person (and socially distant)! This is just the beginning. Finally, there is a statewide PPC faith leaders call on March 11. Here is the RSVP link: In heart and solidarity, The Team at Labor Religion Coalition


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