Monday, November 30, 2009

FRESH Initiative Event

The Good Food, Good Jobs Coalition invites you to a

Reception to celebrate exciting progress toward a more just
and sustainable food system for all New Yorkers.
Come hear about new developments in the city’s Food Retail
Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program to bring
good food and good jobs to communities. Also, hear about
efforts to build on this initiative to make our food system healthy.

Monday, December 7, 2009
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Wollman hall, The New School
65 West 11th street


Christine C. Quinn, Speaker, New York City Council

Dan Barber, Owner, Blue Hill Restaurant
Bruce Both, President, UFCW Local 1500
Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director and founder,
We Act for Environmental Justice
Invocation by Lisa Sharon-Harper, Co-Founder & Executive Director,
NY Faith & Justice
Welcoming by Nevin Cohen, Assistant Professor, Urban Studies, The New School
Spoken word performance by Chris Muller, Faith Community Organizer NY Faith and Justice

Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

To RSVP please call 1.800.522.0456, ext. 274

or email

Sponsored by: The New School, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, New York Jobs with Justice, New York Faith and Justice, New York City Coalition Against Hunger and We Act for Environmental Justice.

Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice

December's Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice Breakfast is coming up this Thursday, December 3rd! The focus of this meeting will be "Advocacy Ins and Outs."

Come learn more about the issues that are affecting our community alongside City Faith Leaders as well as Public Advocates. It's a great time for worship, education, and preparation for service.

The meeting will run from 8:30-11am and will be held at the Interchurch Center - 475 Riverside Dr., NY, NY 10115.

Friday, November 27, 2009

House Gathering Tomorrow!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving yesterday and got to spend some time giving thanks for all God has provided!

In celebration of Thanksgiving as well as the kickoff of the Christmas holiday season, the Harlem House is hosting the first holiday House Gathering tomorrow! It will be a great time to meet up with other people who care about doing justice and have a vibrant discussion. Some great plans are in the works so we hope to see you there.

Harlem House Gathering
226 W 138th St.
map it here!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are You in Love? A personal response to Capitalism: A Love Story

by Frederick J. Mow

This review was originally posted on The Plough on November 13, 2009

I viewed Capitalism: A Love Story in a basement movie house in Midtown Manhattan, down at the base of the Trump Towers. As I exited the theater and returned to street level, my surroundings and the message of the movie clashed dramatically. After two hours of witnessing the evils of capitalism or, as Michael Moore puts it, “legal greed,” I found myself looking up at the gleaming high-rises named after the country’s wealthiest developer, housing the 1% that live atop the pyramid….

Most days I don’t think much about it, but tonight the contrast is stark. I enter the subway and see those who belong to the bottom 1% settling down for a miserable night on wooden benches—pulling their wire shopping carts closer, and wrapping their ragged blankets a little tighter.

As someone who works with homeless New Yorkers on a daily basis, I can put names to people who have been squashed by capitalism and swept under its beautiful rug. I also witness daily the mad rush of those who have been caught up in the rat race for more here in the capital of the capitalist world. I’m no better—I also feel the universal pull of materialism at times, and the attractions of this city’s toxic pleasures. I am susceptible to its propaganda too. But this film has really made me think, and left me with a lot of new questions. I guess that’s the whole point of it.

One man quoted in the film said that Wall Street is a “holy place,” and implied that capitalism—each person making as much money as he can—is God-given. Other voices in the film called capitalism “evil.” Who is right?

If materialistic greed is Moore’s chief target (and it clearly is, in this film), why will so many people shy away from seeing it? What are they afraid of? Is it “socialism,” a word several people in the film seemed frightened of? Am I a socialist if I help the poor and share my plenty with the deprived?

In my opinion, every thinking American should see this movie and chew on it. Why? Very simply, because it will prick your conscience. On one level, it’s classic Moore, with tongue-in-cheek humor, irreverence (especially toward self-important people), subtle exaggeration, and the deft use of people’s own words to incriminate themselves. But in broad strokes, every point Moore makes is painfully true, and in this film more than in his previous ones, you feel the heart of a man who has compassion for the downtrodden.

Moore’s most effective challenges in this movie are directed at those of us that say we are Christians. He needles those who claim to follow Jesus and yet advocate a system that is completely contrary to His example. Moore doesn’t quote the following passage from James 5 in his film, but on leaving the theater, it came to mind:

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you

So did this strong admonition, from the same letter (James 2):

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and what does it mean? If we all truly followed this command, what system would we choose for ourselves and our children? Whether or not you like Michael Moore, you owe it to yourself to take the time to go see Capitalism: A Love Story.

Panel: We Can End Hunger...through networking, advocacy, and direct services

November 19, 1 pm - 2 pm
Sockman room of the
Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY, 10115

Bread for the World invites you to its first annual Thanksgiving prayer, reflection, and action session. Become a part of our network! Reflect on hunger and social justice. Every action is needed! Do whatever you can do to end hunger.
Light refreshments will be served. Questions? Contact Flavia de Souza at 212-870-2203.

This event was submitted by Bread for the World, an organizational partner of NY Faith & Justice

Help Launch It

The 2009 Holiday Postcard Campaign for Immigration Reform

Immigration Reform Holiday Postcard


On November 23, American Jewish Committee, New York Immigration Coalition and New York InterfaithNetwork for Immigration Reform will rally to support passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislation in early 2010 by launching a Holiday Postcard Campaign for Immigration Reform, and by celebrating the contributions of immigrants to our city and nation.

Highlights of the event will include recognition of immigrant religious, civic and political leaders for their contributions to their communities and the City at large; and a tribute to the CUNY's Citizenship and Immigration Project for their success in educating and empowering immigrants.  

When: Tuesday, November 23, 6 p.m. (reception)

and 7 p.m. (program).

Where: N.Y. Historical Society, 2 W. 77th Street


Speakers include...

- Mayor Michael Bloomberg (to be confirmed)

- New York Congressional leaders Yvette Clark, Charles Rangel, Nydia Velasquez and Anthony Weiner

- City Comptroller John Liu

- City Councilmembers Margaret Chin and Ydanis Rodriguez

- Professor Allan Wernick, Director, CUNY Citizenship and Immigration Project

Free Screening

The Peace and Restorative Justice Committee of The Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church cordially invites you to...

Bil'in Habibti

Wednesday Evening, December 9, at 7:15

@ The Church of the Holy Trinity

316 East 88th Street

(btwn 1st and 2nd Avenues)

This event will be preceded by our annual Eucharist service dedicated to the U.N. International Declaration of Human Rights, at 6:30 p.m.

Come join us for a free public screening of this stirring documentary about Bil'in, a Palestinian town that was divided by Israel's "separation wall.

This event was submitted by the Peace and Restorative Justice Committee of the Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, an organizational partner of NY Faith & Justice.

Living Room: Indigenous Peoples and Inclusive Politics

Faith House Living Room Nov 25Wednesday, Nov 25, 2009

6 pm Doors, 7 pm Program

Intersections, 274 5th Ave
Btwn 29th and 30th Sts

With Tiokasin Ghosthorse: Tiokasin Tasunke Wanagi "Ghosthorse Spirit Coming In" Oyate Tokaheya Wicakiye "He Places Nations First"

On the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving Day, all are invited to a vegetarian family meal and Living Room program hosted by Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Host and Producer of"First Voices Indigenous Radio," a Lakota thinker, activist, and musician.

Politics for the Lakota is spiritual and not separate from the rest of life. Indigenous peoples are after an inclusive politics and an inclusive world. There is no word for "exclusion" in Lakota and there is no word for "me" or "I". The responsibility of living within this worldview is far-reaching, from the beginnings of Life itself. This way of knowing and of being must be learned by all who walk with Mother Earth.

"There can be no peace on earth, unless there is peace with earth. Humankind will cease to exist if Indigenous Peoples become extinct. If you kill off a species, you remove a balance from that chain of being and things start to collapse. Let me take it one step further and say, there are three hundred and fifty million Indigenous peoples left out of 7 Billion. We live on seventy percent of the pristine land because we resisted and because we cared for it as it cares for us. And now they want that land. We are the roots. If the indigenous peoples go, there goes the rest of the earth" ~ Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Tiokasin Ghosthorse, from the Cheyenne River Lakota (Sioux) Nation of South Dakota, is "First Voices Indigenous Radio" Producer and Host. Tiokasin is a storyteller, poet, university lecturer, scholar, essayist, cultural interpreter, and a peace and human rights activist.

Tiokasin has a long history in Indigenous rights activism and advocacy on Turtle Island (North America) and overseas. As a teenager, he spoke at the United Nations in Geneva. He is also a survivor of the "Reign of Terror" from 1972 to 1976 on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation, and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding and Church Missionary School systems designed to "kill the Indian and save the man."

Tiokasin Ghosthorse is also a master musician, and a teacher. He is one of the great exponents of the Lakota flute, and plays traditional and contemporary music. He performs worldwide and has been featured at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the United Nations.

Bring a beverage, dessert, salad, or vegetarian dish to share.

RSVPs welcome, but not required, on our Facebook Event or Meetup Event online.

This event was submitted by Faith House, an organizational partner of NY Faith & Justice.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book Launch Event

Rediscovering Values on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy 

National Book Launch in New York City
Coming January 2010!
(Date TBA)

NY Faith & Justice is partnering with New York Times bestselling author Jim Wallis to launch his new book

Rediscovering Values 
on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: 
A Moral Compass for the New Economy

[From the back cover]
Getting back to "the way things were" is not an option. It is time we take our economic uncertainty and use it to find some moral clarity. Too often we have been ruled by the maxims that greed is good, it's all about me, and I want it now. Those can be challenged only with some of our oldest and best values-enough is enough, we are in it together, and thinking not just for tomorrow but for future generations.

Jim Wallis shows that the solution to our problems will be found only
as individuals, families, friends, churches, mosques, synagogues, and entire communities wrestle with the question of values together.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned.  Book launch details are coming soon. Follow us on our blog or twitter for updates.

Contact Miriam at or call 212.870.1254 for more information.

Conversations for Change

Save the Date!
February-March 2010

picasso spirit dove

Violence = No Safety
No Trust = No Safety
Broken Community = No Safety
Broken Systems = No Safety

No Safety => No new Business => Fewer Jobs => Poverty

Join the Conversation.
Be the Change.

Check out NEW Video from 
the September Organizing Training Event!

South Bronx Conversations for Change will launch weekly small group conversation circles between police and community members February-March 2010.  

To Register for a Conversation Circle in your neighborhood contact Marian at or call 212.870.1254

November 2009: Synergy, Solidarity, Symphony


If you've ever been to one of our Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice breakfasts, you know there are three main things we are all about: Food Justice, Climate Justice, and Toxic Hazards that affect poor, under-resourced communities... and by extension they affect us all.  

Well, guess what conference the Manhattan Borough President's office is co-sponsoring with NYU and Just Food (the newest organizational partner of NY Faith & Justice).

NYC Food and Climate Summit, December 12, 2009

Click the pic to register now!  The last conference the Borough President's office put on reached capacity (at 500 people) in less than a week.  This time we have more room, but seats will go fast.  So, click or contact Kate Spaulding at or 212-669-2094 (Manhattan Borough President's Office) for more info now!  

FYI, There will be lots of great learning opportunities.  Among them, I will be leading a skills-building workshop on faith-rooted food and climate justice organizing.  See you there!


Pat Purcell, Organizing Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers-Local 1500, offered me his seat.  I sat down, pulled the microphone closer, clicked the red button, the red light shined, and the City Council Chamber's two-minute clock ticked down...

On October 26, 2009 I represented NY Faith & Justice members and organizational partners as part of a broad coalition testifying about the city's F.R.E.S.H. (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) program.  The Fresh Program is a wonderful idea that will bring more healthy food to under-resourced areas in all five boroughs.  But there's a big and urgent problem.  F.R.E.S.H. stores could accelerate gentrification, displacing the very people the program aims to serve. 
 Click here to read my City Council testimony and find out how the council can turn this problem into a opportunity.

...When I finished, the audience cheered and Councilman Robert Jackson sincerely thanked our coalition for its testimony.  We gave a one hour presentation to the Black, Latino, and Asian caucus two days later.

Jesus stood in solidarity with the bleeding woman, whose suffering had increased over twelve years (Mark 5:21-43).  In the same way, NY Faith & Justice is standing in solidarity with communities that have suffered for years from hunger, diabetes, diabetes related death, and joblessness.  Now they are at-risk of massive displacement. 

The City Council committees will vote on F.R.E.S.H. on Nov 17 and 24th.  Now, is the time to stand in solidarity.

Please take 5 minutes to stand with these bleeding communities.  Write or call Speaker Christine Quinn and let her know you care about the F.R.E.S.H. vote.  Click here for instructions.

Then join us for the F.R.E.S.H. Rally.  Date to be announced.  Follow us on twitter for action alerts and rally updates.


... NY Faith & Justice is convening formal and informal organizational partners to co-host the national launch of Jim Wallis's forthcoming book, Rediscovering Values on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street: A Moral Compass for the New Economy.  

A diverse faith-rooted justice movement is emerging in our city and across the nation.  In multiple arenas we are now partnering to press for policies that care for "the least" in our city and our nation. Yet, the events of the past year have revealed our nation's financial center remains unchanged and untouched.

In Rediscovering Values, Wallis (New York Times bestselling author of God's Politics) issues a prophetic call for our nation to see the economic crisis for what it is; a wake up call.  He urges us all to seize this moment and use it as an opportunity to consider a new: "What exactly do we value?"

Mark your calendars now!  Plan to bring friends and members of your communities.  Enter 2010 with us; in a posture of examination and hope.

In the meantime, here are a few ways you can experience the synergy, stand in solidarity, and join the symphony this month!

Click on these links or scroll down for more info:

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  And don't forget to follow us on twitterfacebook, or the nyfj calendar for up to the minute action alerts, program changes, and details.  

In Solidarity!

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jesus and Justice discussion with Dr. Peter Heltzl

Get a double dose of lively conversation this Saturday, November 14th, as both the Brooklyn and Queens House Gatherings will be having a discussion with Dr. Peter Heltzl about his book, Jesus and Justice: Evangelicals, Race, and American Politics.  

Brooklyn House Gathering 
Saturday, Nov. 14
Sucre Cafe
520 Dekalb Ave. 
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Map it here.
**Note: The House Gathering has moved from it's normal location for this particular gathering!
Queens House Gathering
Saturday, Nov. 14
69-26 Woodside Ave. 
Apt. #2
Woodside, NY 11377
map it here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Invitation to Next Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice Breakfast

Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice
Invites you to

“Synergy, Solidarity, and Symphony

… for environmental justice”

(a.k.a. How to Organize Your Faith Community to Advocate for a Better World)

Fourth Quarterly Breakfast of 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Breakfast @ 8:30 am
Program @ 9-11am

The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY10115
(Corner of Claremont and 120th, enter on Claremont)

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) is now partnering with Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice!

NYLCV is a non-partisan, policy making and political action organization that works to make environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision-makers and the voters in New York State. Now NYLCV will join forces with Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice to help mount campaigns that address issues of environmental injustice in the most marginalized corners of our city.

Come hear Marcia Bystryn (President, NYLCV) and get equipped to organize your faith community to advocate for a better world!

This is synergy.

This is solidarity.

It is time to raise our voices in symphony!

To RSVP contact Sarah Sayeed at or call at (212) 870-3519.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tools for Contacting Speaker Christine Quinn

Write Speaker Christine Quinn 

Email Speaker Christine Quinn through her page on the NYC City Council websiteand ask that she make sure F.R.E.S.H. includes labor standards

Sample letter:

Dear Speaker Quinn,

New York City is becoming increasingly unaffordable, and many New Yorkers lack access to basic rights like the right to healthy food and the right to a dignified job with a living wage and benefits. Thank you for your leadership and all that you have done to tackle these issues. 

A coalition of labor, community and faith leaders are calling for labor standards to be included F.R.E.S.H. We believe that F.R.E.S.H. is a strong step toward developing better food access. Taxpayer dollars, however, should not subsidize stores that pay poverty-level wages. F.R.E.S.H. must not contribute to poverty and gentrification—especially since the community districts affected by F.R.E.S.H. already suffer from the highest rates of poverty. Subsidies should only go to stores that pay living wages, provide decent benefits, and have clear promotional policies.

F.R.E.S.H. needs standards to guarantee that participating stores will empower communities, provide good food, and incentivize the development of living-wage jobs. We hope that City Council will amend the F.R.E.S.H. program, so that F.R.E.S.H. will alleviate rather than exacerbate poverty. Council support for the zoning incentives should be contingent on the inclusion of standards in the EDC financial subsidies. 

We will support the F.R.E.S.H. zoning changes if community, environmental, and good job standards are attached to the financial subsidies included in the program. Only by guaranteeing good food and good jobs to all New Yorkers can we alleviate poverty and improve health. Thank you for your support.


Call Speaker Christine Quinn

Dial: (212) 788-7210

Introduce yourself and ask to speak with her legislative director or leave a message.

Say why you are calling

I am calling to make sure that the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health Initiative, to be voted on by the City Council includes labor standards.

Ask for a specific action: 

Use the following sentence or your own words: 

I am calling to ask that the Speaker continue to make progress in attaching labor standards to the financial subsidies triggered by participation in F.R.E.S.H.

Give reasons why:

- Without good jobs standards, taxpayer money may subsidize unscrupulous stores that exploit workers and take advantage of communities.


Good Jobs: The supermarket should be required to commit, in order to be eligible for the program, that all jobs at the store will meet minimum good jobs standards, defined as providing wages and contributions for benefits that are no lower than those prevailing in the New York City supermarket industry (taking into account a differential between full-time and part-time employees).  

Job Creation: Because the public should see maximum return from public investments, priority should be given to supermarkets that will create the most jobs per public dollar spent with a preference for supermarkets with more than 25 employees.

Local Hiring: The supermarket should participate in a "First Source" hiring system that links employers with community residents and low-income New Yorkers.

Good Food: Stores should participate in the Pride of New York Program.

Transparency: The participating supermarket should be required to report publicly on a bi-annual or annual basis with information necessary to evaluate the food quality and employment standards (e.g. job and wage data) at the supermarkets participating in the loan program. All information should be available online.