Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DotORGathon: Steps for Success

You’ve probably heard about the DotORG-athon by now.  If you haven’t, visit www.dotorgathon.com to learn more.  

Did you know that even though the walk is just over 2-weeks away there are things you can be doing now to help NYFJ make the DotORG-athon the most successful event possible?  

1) Contribute to sponsor our walk.  You can do this by clicking here!

2) Walk the walk with us (either in person or virtually)!  You can sign up here!

3) Get the word out on the dotORG-athon by using your Facebook status and Twitter Tweets!  

The more people that join and contribute to our cause enables us to do more work around New York!  Programs like what we are currently working on:

•Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice

•Conversations for Change

•Working with the Manhattan Borough Presidents office to create a just and sustainable food system for all New Yorker’s

•Partnership with other organizations working on creating just jobs, Immigration reform and Health-Care reform

Your help in making the DotORG-athon successful is greatly needed and greatly appreciated!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"Enough is Enough!"

By Lisa Sharon Harper
Speech for "Stand for Freedom in Iran" Rally
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, across from the United Nations

Hello! I've been deeply moved by this gathering. This is amazing! My name is Lisa Sharon Harper. I am the executive director of NY Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican...or Democrat and I am here today to say "Enough is enough!" [Crowd cheers] Say it with me, "Enough is enough! Enough is enough! Enough is enough! Enough is enough!"

The whole world saw the elections in Iran and the crush of the Iranian Government when they stole the election from the people! We saw it via social networking sources like Twitter and Facebook. Well I'm a twitterer! So, everyone say "Hi!" and I'm gonna take a picture of you because this is amazing!

[The empty space is the space directly infront of the stage. You can't see it from here, but the crowd reached back to 3rd Avenue from 1st Ave!]

President Ahmadinejad,
Democracy is not enough!
Democracy is nothing unless that government protects the rights of "the least of these" in society!
Democracy is nothing unless that government protects the rights of the ones who live with their backs against the walls!
And that kind of democracy is achieved by protecting the basic human rights of all people within a society.

We watched Iran's election and it is unconscionable that 322 people have been executed just this year. It is unconscionable that everyday citizens of your country were thrown in jail just because they wanted to have their vote count!

Enough is enough!

As a black Evangelical woman I know something about the struggle for that kind of democracy on our own soil! My own Evangelical forefathers and fore-mothers warred against my ethnic fore-bearers throughout the better part of the 20th century. I am speaking of the civil rights battles of the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Evangelicals, by-and-large, fought for segregation and fought to enforce Jim Crow laws that denied the right to vote to my black ancestors. But that was the 20th century! This is a new century!!

In the 21st century, Evangelicals are find their way back to their roots - roots born in the 19th century when they led the way in the movement to abolish slavery!

[The crowd cheers!]

So, President Ahmadinejad, a new generation of Evangelicals; white, black, Asian, and Latino are standing in solidarity with the people of Iran today!

[The crowd cheers!]

We stand in solidarity with this crowd and we say with one voice, "Enough is enough!"


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Conversations for Change - Organizers' Training

Saturday, September 12
Community members gathered at Latino Pastoral Action Center to receive training focused on how to organize their communities to take part in Community-wide Conversations between the NYPD and South Bronx Residents in Spring 2010!

Special Thanks to Carolyne Abdullah and Nick Connell from Everyday Democracy, who conducted the day of training.

Organizers broke into two teams: 1) Outreach and 2) Messaging. By the conclusion of the training, we had a comprehensive strategy to mount a community-wide round of Conversations for Change in Spring 2010!

Thanks to all who showed up and all who stand with us in prayer and in spirit. There would be no Conversations without you.

Stand for Freedom in Iran Rally

As the human rights situation in Iran continues to deteriorate and the threat of a nuclear Iran looms closer, it is imperative that we come together as a community to make our voices heard. In addition, as we all know, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of the State of Israel and has also denied the Holocaust.  President Ahmadinejad is coming to New York to speak to the United Nations General Assembly. 

Please join us tomorrow, September 24th at 12 noon across from the United Nations at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for a community wide “Stand for Freedom in Iran Rally.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Speak Out for Good Jobs and Good Food!

Come help us rally for good foods and good jobs in our city.  Tomorrow morning - Wednesday, Sept. 23 - the City Planning Commission will be voting on the proposed zoning incentives for the FRESH program. Help us as we call for the Commission to add stronger standards in the Supermarket Subsidy Program.  

See the Press Release below for more information: 



New York, NY- On September 23rd at 9:30am, as the City Planning Commission votes on the FRESH program, community and labor organizations will rally outside the offices of the City Planning Department to say that the FRESH program needs improvements. FRESH, which would subsidize supermarkets, needs clearer standards to ensure that incentives only go to responsible grocers. Over 32 community organizations have spoken out for standards during the public review process so far; as well as Borough Presidents Markowitz (Brooklyn), Marshall (Queens), and Stringer (Manhattan); and a majority of the affected community boards.

FRESH ("Food Retail Expansion to Support Health") will ease zoning restrictions and offer tax incentives to developers and supermarket owners, in the hope that these incentives will encourage supermarkets to open in neighborhoods that need them the most. The City Planning Commission will vote on the proposed zoning incentives on September 23rd. Community and labor organizations will handbill to share their concerns about omissions in the City's plan.

         WHAT: Rally for Good Food & Good Jobs

WHO:  Families United for Racial & Economic Equality (FUREE), We Act for Environmental Justice, New York Jobs with Justice, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1500, New York City Coalition Against Hunger

         WHEN: September 23rd at 9:30am

         WHERE: Department of City Planning22 Reade StreetNew York, NY(Subway Stops: City Hall                             R,W; Brooklyn Bridge City Hall 4,5,6; Park Place 2,3; Chambers St A,C). 

Monday, September 21, 2009

Evangelicals and Health Reform: Rights and Wrongs

by Lisa Sharon Harper

“Healthcare reform is @ the right to life,” read my Twitter tweet. “Interesting… Many who claim to be ‘pro-life’ trumpeted choice over the past month.” 

The tweet posted to my Facebook page and touched of the longest string of commentary I’ve ever had!  One response from an old friend was particularly interesting.  She identified herself as “a conservative” and “born again” and said health care should be kept separate from the "right to life". 

Should it?

Healthcare is a basic human right according to Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  For, it is directly connected with a human's right to live (Article 3, UDHR).  But let’s not get all technical.

Let’s get biblical.

In the Matthew 25 story of the sheep and the goats, Jesus himself says an equitable healthcare SYSTEM is a mandate for those who call themselves Jesus followers.

Jesus refers to the righteous whom the Father has invited into the kingdom in verse 37.  The word righteous is actually translated the just or equitable in character and action. The word equitable is about fairness and intrinsically refers to systemic justice.  In other words, the ones who seek to create fair systems, the ones who level playing fields will be the ones standing on the right with the sheep.

Now, which playing fields is Jesus most concerned about?  In the same passage, he actually lays out a public policy agenda.  

The word hungry (v. 35) means famished in the Greek.  It should lead us to consider “How just is our food system?”

Thirsty means just that – thirsty.  It should lead us to consider our water system: “How clean and safe is the water provided for the ones on the other side of the tracks in our towns, our cities, our world?”

Naked actually means stripped in the Greek.  It should lead us to consider “How do our systems affect those who have experienced the greatest injustices, those on the bottom, those who live with the greatest weight of our systems on their shoulders?”

Sick means diseased.  It should lead us to consider the justice of our Healthcare system.  Does our healthcare system offer an equitable distribution of health and life to rich and poor? 

Stranger means immigrant.  It should lead us to consider the justice of our immigration system.  

Prison means prison.  It should lead us to consider the justice of our prison system.

So, as Jesus followers we must seek to level the playing fields that govern public life. How can we, then, in good conscience, separate in our minds and our hearts the health of the living from the health of the unborn?  We cannot.

Rather, we must consider our times.  We must consider our history in the public square – I refer here to our leadership in the segregationist movement and the anti-women’s rights movements of the mid-twentieth century.  In those days, evangelicals were ruled by fear of change.  We were ruled by fear of the future.  We were guided by the instinct to preserve the self.  As a result, our mantra became: “Damn the one who would threaten my way of life!”  

Today, we stand at another crossroads.  God has given us another chance to stand on the right side of history.  The evangelicals of the 19th century had their come to Jesus moment over slavery.  They chose well.  The evangelicals of the 20th century had their come to Jesus moment over Jim Crow and segregation.  They walked away from Jesus.  This is our moment.  

We must examine the proposals being put forth by congress and examine the words of Jesus.  

We must ask the questions:  Is it just and equitable to make sure that every citizen of our nation has access to healthcare that can save their lives?  Is it unjust to deny access to healthcare to those who cannot afford it?  Would Jesus condone unjust healthcare policies that have the ability to affect the lives of millions of people made in the image of God? 

Then we must choose our side in the annals of history.

I choose Healthcare Reform and I am for the public option.  Why?

... because I am for a consistent ethic of life.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Health Care Reform and a Better "American Way of Life"

by Lisa Sharon Harper

**the following article can also be seen on the Sojourners website at www.sojo.net.

Tea-totaling party animals are crying the mantra of the Ghosts of Conservatives-past, “Blankety blank blank will change our American way of life!” Now all the President’s men and women – especially the Blue-Dogs - are not-so-discretely inching away – some are bolting – from two heinous words; “public” and “option.”

What is the American way of life, anyway?

Earlier this year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.

It turned out the cancer hadn't spread, so it was treatable. The treatment requires daily drives to Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City for 10 weeks. Each visit easily costs in the thousands. Now, multiply thousands by 50 visits. His treatment would cost at least $50,000 without insurance!

I asked my parents how they are paying for the treatment. Guess what they said: "Medicare and The NJ State Teachers Annuity and Pension fund” – two government run plans.  No panels decided his treatment.  No dropping of the insurance because of any preconditions.  And, guess what?  No rationing.  

Dad continued, “It’s a good thing I was an educator in New Jersey where educators’ pensions cover health insurance.” If he had continued to teach in Pennsylvania where he launched his career, he would have had to purchase private insurance.  There’s a good chance that a private insurance company would have (or could have) dropped his coverage or rationed it.

I asked him, “If we lived in Pennsylvania, you could have been bankrupted by your diagnosis?”

“Yes,” he replied.

Tears welled up in my eyes at the thought. The need for health reform hit home. 

“What about all those people who don’t have government run plans,” I thought, “people whose insurance companies pick and choose their treatment or drop them when they fear they'll actually have to pay out? What about the 14,000 people per day who are losing their health insurance?” This is the current American way of life. My question is why would anyone want to preserve it?

This summer I met Scott and Hillary, a couple from Northern Ireland.  Their son landed in the hospital for several weeks this past year. The cost would have been tens of thousands of dollars in the U.S., but Ireland has universal healthcare.  So, the cost was $0. Yes, zero.  Nada.  NingĂșn.  Nothing.

Scott asked me with Irish lilt singing: “If Ireland can do this, certainly the United States – the richest single country on the planet – can find a way to do it.”

America is the last developed country in the world NOT to provide healthcare for all of its citizens.  The issue is not our ability.  It is our will.

In essence, those who say they want to “preserve” this way of life are saying they want to preserve a system that offers the good life for some and whatever-life-you-can-afford for others.

I say, “How dare the tea-totaling partiers plant themselves in the land of self-righteous theoretical conjecture at the expense of real human lives – lives born from the mind of God?”  

They say, “A public option will mean ‘big government’ and the end of the American way of life. It will present private insurance companies with competition.”  

“And that’s a bad thing, how?” I wonder.

They answer: “Private companies won’t be able to keep up with the competition.” 

“Isn’t that market-based capitalism?” I counter. “Isn’t it a basic principal of market-based capitalism that competition drives industries to produce better services more efficiently? Wouldn’t that be a good thing for the healthcare industry and for American’s health? And by the way, what does it say about ‘big government’ that you’re afraid that it will be more efficient and better quality than our current ‘way of life’?”

Now, all the President’s Blue Dogs and all the President’s Lions, must put health reform back to together again.  We entreat you, don’t be swayed by the wind.  Lead America to a new and better “way of life” – one that truly values life enough to ensure that every American has a fair shake at preserving theirs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

NYFJ & Alpha Nu Omega, Inc. Invite You to Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem!

Hello Everyone!

NYFJ and the Sisters of Alpha Nu Omega, Incorporated cordially invite you to our book discussion and first event of the fall, featuring Lisa Sharon Harper, Director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican…or Democrat. We are very excited to have this accomplished woman of God in our midst and hope we can share this experience with you!

"Harper offers a powerful indictment of the religious right, of its role in hijacking evangelical passion and dividing Christians against each other, and—in an agenda that is racist and sexist to the core—of its abandonment of the gospel. She shows how evangelicals, in disengaging from partisan politics, can reclaim their roots and become a new moral voice for the nation." -Amazon.com

Our event details are as follows:

Date: September 19th, 2009
Time: 1:00 PM
Location: Hue Man Bookstore
2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10027-3612
(212) 665-7400


We hope to see you there!

Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Dove Sisters of the Empire State Region Alumni of ANQ, Inc.


The Purpose of Alpha Nu Omega, Incorporated is to present a Christian alternative on college/university campuses and in surrounding communities, to minister the needs of the whole person (spirit, soul, and body) and to promote an attitude of academic excellence.

"O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."

Song of Solomon 2:14 (KJV)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"Something is changing.  We don't know what it is, but something is different", said the anti-health insurance reform, protest-sign-brandishing, "Tea Party-er" to the CNN news correspondent.  

ChangeWe know what it is.  

It's Matthew 5, and 6, and 7, and 25 change!  

It's Isaiah 2, and 58, and 61 change!  
It's Luke 1, and 4, and 10, and 11, and 16, and 18 change!
It's Micah 4 and 6 change!
It's John 1, and 4, and 12, and 21 change! 

It's Ruth, and Esther, and Amos, and Jeremiah change!

It's Mark 1, and 4, and 10, and 11 change!

This IS a season of change and we embrace it!  At NY Faith & Justice we believe now is the time - right now - for us to get on our knees and pray, "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."  And now is the time to align our hands and feet with our mouths.

NY Faith & Justice is entering a season of major change.  We are returning to our roots.  We are now 100% volunteer-led. And honestly; we're all pretty excited!  The economic downturn has slashed non-profit staffs across the city and ours was no exception.  But what we're finding is as the "paid" part leaves the "staff team" - more and more of you are stepping up, filling in gaps, and even taking the work to the next level!!!

So, this letter is full of ways you can join us and "be part of the change" coming soon!  Click on the links here or scroll down for more:

1.  The NY Faith & Justice Internship Program seeks Fall '09 interns to help lead major initiatives this fall.  We're accepting applications now!  Please email admin@nyfaithjustice.org or call 212.870.1201 for more info.

2.  Walk with NY Faith & Justice in the October 11th dotORG-athon! Sign ups start now!

3.  South Bronx Conversations for Change Organizer's Training THIS Saturday.  Scroll down for more info and RSVP today.

4.  Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice invites you to... Healthcare Reform, Environmental Justice, and You, Thurs, September 17.  Scroll down for more info and RSVP today. 

Lisa Sharon Harper5.  Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican...or Democrat Book Reading 
Saturday, September 19, 2009
@ Hue-Man Bookstore
2319 Fredrick Douglass Blvd
New York, NY 10027 
(between 124th and 125th Streets)!

Buy the book and join the discussion with Lisa Sharon Harper, as she reads sections and discusses the relevance of race, gender, and theology on evangelical responses to healthcare reform, immigration reform, and abortion.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We hope to see you this fall.  And don't forget to follow us on Twitter and facebook.  

Plus, Stephen Tickner (NYFJ Communications Intern) wrote a great article on Healthcare Reform this summer. Coming soon: Healthcare reform blog series including reflections from my time in Croatia this summer!  Check it all out here on the NYFJ blog.

Be the Change!
This Palestinian Life - Film Screening

Lisa Sharon Harper
Co-founder and Executive Director
New York Faith & Justice

DotORG-athon is Coming!!

NY Faith & Justice invites you to...

Walk for change.

Walk with NY Faith & Justice and more than 100 other non-profits across New York City.  

Walk in solidarity with the millions of lives improved by the selfless service of ordinary people practicing extraordinary kindness every day.  


Join nearly 25,000 people who will walk in solidarity with the second largest job sector in New York City - non-profits!  Non-profits have taken a massive beating over the last year.  In just the last six months, multiple well-established NYFJ partners have had to slash their staffs and we have had to go back to our roots; we are now 100% volunteer-led!  Yes, 100%!

Now, NY Faith & Justice seeks 200 people to walk with us (in person or "virtually") in our city's time of greatest need.  On October 11 you and your community can help fund critical NY Faith & Justice initiatives like Conversations for Change, Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice, House Gatherings, and The Bridge!  You can help us meet our 09-10 budget goal of $200,000!  You can help us continue to work toward the end of poverty in our city.
  Every dollar you raise will go directly to NY Faith & Justice programs.  Plus, we will receive a matching grant to multiply your contribution!

When?  Sunday, October 11, 2009
What?  A 10K walk-a-thon to benefit NY Faith & Justice and hundreds of other non-profits across New York City.
Where?  Our rally point is at Lehman College in the Bronx ... End point is Orchard Beach.
How?  Email us at admin@nyfaithjustice.org or call Lisa Sharon Harper directly at 212.870.1201 for more info on how you and your organization or faith community can sign up to walk for change! And watch for the sign-up/donation site to go live soon.

The dotOrg-athon is the brain child of Theresa Miles, executive director of Mission-Related.  The lead partner is World Vision.  Other distinguished host committee members include Target, Hope for New York, The Bowery Mission, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, NYC Clothing Bank, and many others.
  And now the dotOrg-athon is live on Twitter and Facebook!

Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice

Healthcare Reform 
Environmental Justice
...and you

Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice

In One Week!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

@ The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive, Sockman Lounge

What happens when...schools are built on toxic land in communities with little to no health insurance?

What happens... in a community with little to no health insurance when greasy, fatty food is all you can get within walking distance?

What happens when... a neighborhood with little to no health insurance suffers from the highest Asthma rate in the nation because it is surrounded by highways and industrial truck routes?

Find out...
and find out what you and your faith community can do about it.

To RSVP call Sarah Sayeed @ 212.870.3519 or email her ssayeed@interfaith.org

Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice is a diverse array of faith leaders committed to making deep impact on issues of environmental justice in New York City through coordinated collective action. 

Conversations for Change

picasso spirit doveTHIS SATURDAY!


September 12, 2009
10am - 4pm

@ The Latino Pastoral Action Center
14 West 170th Street
Bronx, NY 10452

The first line of defense for economic recovery in blighted neighborhoods is safety.  Jobs won't come to the neighborhood when businesses don't feel safe.  Safety won't come until the relationship between the NYPD and South Bronx residents is changed and set on a new course.   

South Bronx Conversations for Change will launch October 2009. Check out our YouTube Video!

If you are a resident of the South Bronx and care about the rising tensions between the police and the community, then join us and get organized!  Attend this full day of training with and learn how you can help empower the community to become the change it needs!  Si se puede!

To RSVP email Regina at naomidelights2003@yahoo.com.  Please include your name, email address and phone number.  

See you soon!