Despite New York’s great wealth, more than 3 million New Yorkers live below the federal poverty line, and millions more struggle to make ends meet. In Schenectady, Albany, and Rensselaer counties, 4 in 10 households earn less than the cost of living.

The Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State will seek to shine a light on these realities and – most importantly – the leadership and insight of those directly impacted by them. This project is part of a national Truth Commission on the Right Not to Be Poor, organized as part of the Call for a New Poor People’s Campaign.

We held the first truth commission event in Cuba, NY on June 1st. We heard a variety of testimony that highlighted the multiple intersecting issues of poverty and oppression, and moved beyond individual responsibility to systemic causes of chronic poverty. You can read a reflection from one of the commissioners here: https://laborreligion. org/latest-news/2017/6/7/ reflections-on-the- neighborhood-check-in- southern-tier

Two more commissions will be held in the Capital Region and Long Island (more info here) and will culminate in a Regional Poor People’s Campaign Revival, October 16-18 in Binghamton, NY, featuring Rev. Dr. William Barber of the North Carolina Forward Together Movement.

Each event will feature testimony from people directly impacted by poverty and related injustices, direct service providers, advocates, faith or other community leaders, and academics or other experts. Testimony will address:

  • The material conditions of poverty and related injustices in these communities, and their impact on people and the community at large.
  • The abundance of resources that exist that could address these crises.
  • Our values (both faith-based and democratic) and their relationship to the current reality.
  • The leadership, organizing, resistance and resilience that already exist in directly impacted communities.

We hope you’ll share about these important events in your congregations, and join us on July 13th for the Capital Region Truth Commission. You can RSVP here.

Feel free to share this flyer too!

Joe Paparone is an organizer with the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS, and the advocacy coordinator with the FOCUS Churches of Albany. He wants to talk to your congregation about justice. He can be reached at

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