Do not miss our 4th Annual Working But Still Poor Conference on Friday, March 28th, 2014! Our conference theme this year is organizing in solidarity for economic justice on Long Island. Our workshops will reflect on the specific needs of our communities and how we can organize around the systemic structures that keep people struggling. Scroll down to see workshop descriptions and presenters!
The Conference will be held on Friday, March 28th, from 8:30am to 2:30pm at Touro Law Center in Central Islip. Early-registration (before March 10th) is $25 and late or on-site registration will be $30. Registration fee includes both breakfast and lunch.
Opening Plenary: Keynote Address from Frederick K. Brewington, Esq., “Confronting Systemic Injustice on Long Island”
Workshop Session A
Navigating Systems to Support Poor People: The Department of Social Services and Welfare Law - Don Friedman, Empire Justice; Ellen Krakow, Nassau Suffolk Law Services
The welfare system can be so complex that it intimidates direct-service providers from getting involved with DSS. Attorneys Don Friedman and Ellen Krakow, members of the Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature, will explore and make accessible and understandable key legal themes underlying the welfare system (like due process or access to records) as well as help advocates think about working to change local DSS practices so they conform with these principles.
Organizing to Meet Long Island’s Changing Transportation Needs: Seniors, Students, Disabled and Working People - Moderator: Prof. Stephanie Sapiie, Nassau Commuity College; Panelists: Aaron-Watkins Lopez, Long Island Jobs with Justice; Ryan Lynch, Tri State Transportation Campaign; David O’Donnell, Long Island Bus Riders’ Union; Maria Dayton, Outreach Coordinator at St. James RC Church, Seaford
The privatization of Nassau County’s bus service in 2012 prompted Jobs with Justice to form the LI Bus Riders’ Union (LIBRU) that – with other advocates such as the Tri-State Transportation Campaign – have shed light, not only on Nassau’s bus system, but on Long Island’s changing transportation needs. This panel will assess Long Island’s mass-transit systems in the context of specific population needs: seniors, students, disabled people and workers.
Case to Cause: How Charity Can Become Social Justice Advocacy - Presenter/Moderator: Richard Koubek, Long Island Jobs with Justice; Panelists: Sr. Judy Fay, CSJ, Outreach Coordinator at St. Raphael RC Church, East Meadow; Paule Pachter, LI Cares; Chaplain Wally Merna, Long Island Council of Churches Food Pantry; Denise Dowell, CSEA
Too often, charity is used as a substitute for justice. This workshop will provide a toolkit and training to help direct-service workers in agencies such as food pantries or outreach centers channel their charitable works on behalf of poor people into advocacy for public policies that address unjust economic systems and structures that cause their clients’ poverty. A panel of direct-service practitioners will illustrate how they have utilized some of the strategies in the toolkit.
Health and Safety as a Tool for Organizing Workers - Charlene Obernauer, NY Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)
U.S. workers identified workplace safety as one of the top three issues for organizing in their workplace. This workshop will highlight ways in which workers’ health and safety on the job can be utilized as a way to organize workers. Strategies will be discussed for organizing workers around health and safety issues, and a specific campaign will be case studied to help attendees think through new strategies of organizing.
Funding our Social Justice Movement – Challenges and Opportunities - Moderator: Rev. Tom Goodhue, Long Island Council of Churches; Panelists: Mary Beth Guyther, Long Island Community Foundation; Sandra Dunn, Hagedorn Foundation; David Sprintzen, Long Island Jobs with Justice/Long Island Progressive Coalition
There are just not enough funds available to meet all the needs confronting poor and marginalized people on Long Island. Funders have to make tough decisions about how they can best distribute their grants and organizations have to make difficult decisions about how to effectively raise and apply funds. All of these considerations become even more difficult and sensitive when an organization seeks funding for political organizing and advocacy that confronts unjust economic systems here on Long Island. This workshop will explore both the opportunities and challenges of funding and how they impact our work. It will also highlight the role of fundraising as a movement-building strategy while panelists discuss how we can build and strengthen our resources and long-term vision for our movements on Long Island.
Workshop Session B
Navigating Systems to Support Immigrants: Federal and State Immigration Law - Moderator: Anita Halasz, Long Island Jobs with Justice; Panelists: Patrick Young, Esq., CARECEN; Sr. Margaret Smyth, North Fork Spanish Apostolate; Sr. Mary Beth Moore, Centro Corazon de Maria; Martha Maffei, SEPA Mujer
Our immigration system is broken and has not kept pace with changing times or shifting demographics. A broken system is harmful not only to our country, but to our communities. This panel, consisting of immigrant advocates who battle complex and difficult-to-navigate immigration laws everyday while assisting immigrant communities, will highlight some of the key legal principles and practices that immigrant advocates need to know in order to effectively work with government organizations and agencies that regulate immigration
A Parish Model for Reflection on Justice: The Wisdom of St. Francis and Pope Francis - Richard Koubek, Long Island Jobs with Justice; Fr. Bill Brisotti, Pastor at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal RC Church, Wyandanch
Since his election one year ago, Pope Francis has captured global attention with his simple and blunt calls for economic justice. On October 5th, 2013, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal RC Church in Wyandanch hosted a bilingual discussion for 75 people on the wisdom of St. Francis of Assisi and his namesake, Pope Francis, regarding poverty, economic and environmental justice. This workshop will train congregational leaders to use the discussion guide which will be shared in both English and Spanish.
Confronting Wage Theft, the Minimum Wage and Worker Exploitation - Moderator: Roger Clayman, Executive Director, Long Island Federation of Labor; Panelists: Kimberly Saget, Long Island Jobs with Justice Walmart Campaign; Mark Dunlea, Hunger Action Network of NYS; Sara Niccoli, NYS Labor Religion Coalition; Gerardo Gutierrez, Rural and Migrant Ministry
One hundred years ago, progressive reformers from Presidents on down to local union and community organizers, fought for basic labor-protection laws. In this workshop, a panel of economic-justice advocates will assess how today, despite so many laws now on the books, workers – especially low-wage workers – continue to be exploited, having their wages stolen by unscrupulous employers, while basic protections such as the already inadequate minimum wage laws are widely flouted or ignored because state and federal agencies lack the resources to enforce them. Advocacy strategies that address these injustices will be profiled by the panelists.
Sister Power: Organizing Nuns for Advocacy - Sr. Rosalie Carven, CSJ; Sr. Pat DeMarco, OP
Women religious (nuns) have what it takes for legislative action. Two sisters from two different religious orders on Long Island (Sisters of St. Joseph and Dominicans) will show how they organize to influence governmental change by advocating for public policies that serve human needs.
Closing Plenary: Congressman Tim Bishop, “Why The Federal Government is Stalled and What Can Be Done To Get It Moving Again”
Reaction Panel - Moderator: Richard Koubek, Long Island Jobs with Justice; Panelists: Paule Pachter, Executive Director, LI Cares/Harry Chapin Food Bank; Shirley Coverdale, Executive Director, Family Community Life Center; Roger Clayman, Executive Director, Long Island Federation of Labor; Luis Valenzuela, Executive Director, Long Island Immigrant Alliance