2015 Working But Still Poor Conference: Protecting Families from Economic Injustice on Long Island

Friday, March 13, 2015
9am – 2:30pm
Registration begins at 8:15am; program begins at 9am

Touro Law Center (225 Eastview Drive, Central Islip)

Early registration (until February 25): $25
Late or on-site registration: $30


FEATURING: Rev. Jim Wallis, Sojourners

This year’s conference theme is “Protecting Families from Economic Injustice on Long Island”. Workshops will reflect on the structural injustices impacting working families across Long Island and present opportunities for advocacy and movement building. See below for a full list of workshop descriptions and presenters!

2015 WBSP Conference Flyer


We are honored to have Rev. Jim Wallis as our opening keynote speaker. He is the president and founder of Sojourners, a national Christian organization committed to faith in action for social justice. Rev. Wallis recently served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was former vice chair of and currently serves on the Global Agenda Council on Values of the World Economic Forum. Rev. Jim Wallis’ most recent books include: On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good; Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery; The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America; God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It. 

We are also very excited to have Lisa Sharon HarperSojourners’ senior director of mobilizing, lead a two-part workshop for clergy and congregational leaders on how to preach about social justice. Lisa was the founding executive director of New York Faith & Justice—an organization at the hub of a new ecumenical movement to end poverty in New York City. She has written extensively on tax reform, comprehensive immigration reform, health-care reform, poverty, racial justice, and transformational civic engagement. A flyer detailing her two-part workshop can be found below!


WBSP Clergy Invite Flyer

If you have any difficulties with or questions about registering, please contact Kimberly at 631-348-1170 ext. 317.

Sponsorships are available! If you would like to learn more about how to become a conference sponsor please contact Anita at 631-348-1170 ext. 304 or


Opening Plenary

Income Inequality, Economic Injustice and America’s Families: Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners

Reaction Panel: Securing Economic Justice in an Era of Inequality
Moderator: Richard Koubek
, PhD, Community Outreach Coordinator, LI Jobs with Justice; Panel: Roger Clayman, Executive Director, LI Federation of Labor; DuWayne Gregory, Presiding Officer, Suffolk County Legislature; Luis Valenzuela, PhD, LI Immigrant Alliance

Workshop Session A

Workshop 1: How To Preach about Social Justice … And Hold On to Your Congregation (Part 1)
This two-part workshop will help clergy preach about economic justice from a moral perspective while deepening their collaborations with lay advocates in their congregations. The workshop will use these themes to help clergy engage their congregations in social-justice reflections and activities:

1. Race and Poverty on Long Island and in the US – Foundations of Injustice
2. Sharing Your Story – How to preach about economic justice by sharing: The Story of Me, The Story of Us, The Story of Now

Presenter: Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners Senior Director of Mobilizing

Workshop 2: Income Inequality and Gender Inequality: Trends in the Suburban Family
When workers’ wages and incomes are frozen in a high-cost region like Long Island, families suffer. This workshop will explore how gender and income inequalities are affecting working mothers and fathers.

Presenter: Niev Duffy, Center for Social Policy and Community Engagement (C-SPACE) and Assistant Professor of Politics, Economics, and Law, SUNY Old Westbury.

Workshop 3: Long Island’s Segregated Schools: Tracking Some Children Into Economic Insecurity
Long Island is the third-most segregated suburb in the United States. This workshop will detail how children of color are tracked into lives of economic insecurity by Long Island’s segregated housing patterns and school systems.

Presenter: Elaine Gross, ERASE Racism.
Panel: Moderator: Richard Koubek, PhD, Community Outreach Coordinator, Long Island Jobs with Justice
Panelists: Blanca A. Villanueva, Community Education Organizer, LIPC; Elias Mestizo, Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association; Michelle Santantonio, LI Housing Services; Maribel Touré, Hempstead School Board

Workshop 4: Messaging Workshop: How To Talk About Immigration Policies that Break Up Families and Deny Dreams
Over the past year, Comprehensive Immigration Reform remained stalled in Congress, President Barack Obama took steps to provide legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants and almost 3,000 refugee children from Central America arrived on Long Island. All these developments raised the level of frustration and anger around the issue of immigration reform. This messaging workshop will help develop a framework that advocates can use to talk about America’s broken immigration policies that break up families, divide workers and deny dreams.

Presenter: Patrick Young, CARECEN
Panel: Moderator: Anita Halasz, LI Jobs with Justice
Panelists: Victoria Daza, LI Jobs with Justice; Christian Bonawandt, LI Wins

Workshop Session B                                                                                  

Workshop 5: How To Preach about Social Justice … And Hold On to Your Congregation (Part 2)

Presenter: Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners Senior Director of Mobilizing

Workshop 6: Mass Incarceration of Minorities on Long Island: Locking Some People into Economic Insecurity
The tensions between the police and communities of color that have dominated the headlines since last summer are but a symptom of the structural injustices faced by minorities within America’s criminal justice system. This workshop will profile how many African Americans and Hispanics are locked into lives of economic insecurity by Long Island’s mass-incarceration practices.

Presenter: Professor Barbara Morrell, St Joseph’s College
Panel: Moderator: Claire Deroche, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock
Panelists: Barbara Allen, Prison Families Anonymous; Rev. Charles Coverdale, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Riverhead; Dr. Joseph Volker, Pax Christi LI

Workshop 7: Putting Families Last: Low Wage Jobs and the Lack of Public Transportation on Long Island
Despite the fact that Long Island is one of America’s ten wealthiest suburbs, low-wage jobs and the lack of critical supports like public transportation place enormous strains on workers and their families. This workshop will explore these strains as well as actions that can be taken to make corporations and governments stop putting families last.

Presenter: Catherine Ruetschlin, Senior Policy Analyst, Demos
Panel: Moderator: Aaron Watkins-Lopez, LI Bus Riders’ Union Organizer, LI Jobs with Justice
Panelists: Hon. Jay Schneiderman, Suffolk County Legislator; Tim Lynch, Teamsters Local 1205 ; Michele Lynch, 1199 SEIU; Kimberly Saget, Change Walmart Change the Economy Organizer, LI Jobs with Justice

Workshop 8: Quality Child Care: An Economic Necessity for All; Available Only for Affluent Families
The United States trails most industrialized countries in providing quality, affordable child care. This panel, composed of child-care specialists and practitioners, will discuss the importance of child care to the Long Island economy and what can be done to elevate the quality and affordability of child care and early-learning experiences.

Panel: Moderator: Dana Friedman, Early Years Institute
Panelists: Jan Barbieri, Child Care Council of Nassau; Janet Walerstein, Child Care Council of Suffolk; Kathy Liguori, Suffolk Welfare to Work Commission Vice Chair; Jennifer Rojas, Rauch Foundation; Nick LaMorte, CSEA; Denise Dowell, CSEA


Closing Plenary: Economic Justice and America’s Families: A Call to Action

CLOSING SPEAKER: The Biblical Vision of Economic Justice: A Call to Care, Compassion and Community: Lisa Sharon Harper, Sojourners Senior Director of Mobilizing

A 2015 JwJ Agenda Putting Families First: Anita Halasz Executive Director, LI Jobs with Justice



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s