Faith Leaders Kick-Off Campaign for $20 Living Wage in NYC
“Overlooked and Undercounted: Journey to a Real Living Wage” event raises economic self-sufficiency as the standard for NYC
A coalition of multi-faith leaders from throughout New York City launched the Real Living Wage NYC Campaign on Thursday, October 8, 2015. Hundreds of people participated in the “Overlooked and Undercounted: A Journey to a Real Living Wage” event to raise economic self-sufficiency as the standard for NYC.
The goal of the Real Living Wage campaign is to ensure that all New York City workers receive at least $20/hour— the wage required to meet basic needs in this city—and transform New York into a Real Living Wage City.
Faith leaders from throughout the city gathered at the First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem for the launching. Clergy included:
- Rev. Michael Walrond, First Corinthian Baptist Church;
- Rev. Dr. Ray Rivera, Latino Pastoral Action Center;
- Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Labor/Religion Coalition;
- Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood;
- Rev. Que English, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church;
- Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Director, the Micah Institute;
- Rev. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York;
- Nayan Barua, the Bangladeshi Buddhist-Hindu-Christian Alliance;
- Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services:
- and many more.
The multi-media event included testimonials from Nakimuli Francis and A.Q. Blackwell, who spoke about their personal struggles with making ends meet while earning poverty wages in multiple jobs.
In a call to action, Rev. Michael Walrond told those present, “We will make history. This $20 living wage is not some far flung notion, some whimsical hope. It is a deep belief in faith, that people of faith who believe in the power of God, should never grow weary of doing what we are called to do: stand up and make sure that in this city, the overlooked and undercounted are paid a real living wage.”
Rev. Chloe Breyer led participants in the following closing litany:
Leader: As we stand together and pledge ourselves to help ensure that New York City is a city that promotes a Real Living Wage, let us rejoice in the freedom of God—a freedom which sweeps you into an ever-changing reformation of self and the world around you. A freedom that is an invitation to intimacy with God and the family of God. A freedom that demands action. A freedom that makes you different: God-like, rather than world-like. A freedom that enables you to step out of the norm into the extraordinary. Grasp this freedom and be a prophet . . .
People: who seeks and speaks wisdom,
L: an advocate,
P: who stands up to the forces that threaten our hope,
L: a teacher,
P: who spreads the light of awareness,
L: a witness
P: who testifies with power and insight,
L: a public servant
P: who sows the seed promise,
L: a visionary
P: who sees a Real Living Wage as something that can be achieved for all who live and work in New York City.