The Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State is part of a national Truth Commission on the Right Not to Be Poor, organized as part of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Three Truth Commission events were held in 2017:

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

Goals of the Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State:

  • To tell the truth about ongoing injustices in New York communities - both their root causes and potential solutions.

  • To develop stronger relationships and a commitment to collaboration/solidarity among anti-poverty leaders in diverse parts of our state.

  • To support existing local efforts to organize and advocate against poverty.

The Truth Commission on Poverty in New York State was organized by the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State. The Labor-Religion Coalition's mission is to unite faith, labor and community in a statewide movement for social, racial, and economic justice, grounded in our deeply held moral and democratic values. We envision a New York in which all residents are guaranteed adequate food, housing, healthcare, and a safe environment; have access to quality public education and living wage jobs; have the right to organize in the workplace, and the right to equal pay for equal work; and have equal protection under the law, regardless of race, religious belief, country of origin, immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Partnering Organizations: ACCORD, Campaign for New York Health, Citizen Action of New York - Capital District Chapter, Cuba Cultural Center, Fiscal Policy Institute, FOCUS Churches of Albany, Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Food Not Bombs - Albany, Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice, Long Island Cares, Long Island Council of Churches, Long Island Immigrant Alliance, Long Island Jobs with Justice, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Metro-Suffolk Association, United Church of Christ, New York State Council of Churches, New York State United Teachers, New York State Nurses Association, Rural Migrant Ministries, Sisters of St. Joseph - Brentwood, St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church

Report Authors

Rev. Emily McNeill is the Executive Director of the NYS Labor-Religion Coalition. Originally from Fairport, NY, Emily is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She holds an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and a B.A. in journalism from Ithaca College. Prior to joining LRC, she was pastor of Parkland United Methodist Church and associate pastor of First United Methodist Church in Tacoma, WA. 

Joe Paparone is the Clergy & Community Organizer with NYS Labor-Religion Coalition and the Advocacy Coordinator at FOCUS Churches of Albany. Joe is a life-long New Yorker, having grown up in the Mid-Hudson Valley, near New Paltz. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from the College of Saint Rose in 2004 and a Master of Arts in Global Leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2012. Joe also volunteers with New Sanctuary for Immigrants, ICE-Free Capital District, and Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration.