August 11, 2018 GSMCB Keynote Presentation: Step Up Louisiana's 3-Point Platform Economic Justice Workshop

August 2018 Keynote Presentation:
Economic Justice

3-Point Platform Workshop
Ben Zucker and Guests
Co-Director, Step Up Louisiana
Step Up Louisiana Economic Justice Committee
11:00am to 12:00pm
First Unitarian Universalist Church
5212 South Claiborne Av., New Orleans
(Enter via CELSJR or the Soniat Street entrances; inside large classroom)
Coffee will be served beginning at 10:30am
 Attender brief introductions 10:50am to 10:58am
Keynote Presentation and Discussion: 11:00am to 12:00pm
Progressive Social Justice Community announcements follow
Usually held every second Saturday of each month, the Gillespie-Senter Memorial Community Breakfast has been a project of the First Unitarian Universalist Church Social Justice Committee since May 1983. For more information, call Brad Ott at (504) 810-3919.

Step Up Louisiana and our allies are calling on the New Orleans Mayor and City Council to support and pass the Economic Justice 3-Point Platform. The platform of $15 Minimum Wage, Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women, and Ban the Box Fair Chance was developed by workers across industries throughout our city, directly affected by the lack of equity in our economy.  
Background on $15 Minimum Wage- 
No one should have to live in poverty. The current child poverty rate in this city is 44%, we have the 2nd highest rate of income inequality of any city in the U.S. and over 43% of Black men in the city are not working. 29 states have raised their minimum wage higher than our minimum in Louisiana; $7.25 per hour and $2.13 per hour for tipped workers. Black median income is only $25,000 per year while White median income is $60,000 per year. Too many working people need public assistance to make ends meet while corporations are making record profits. Many people are working hard and still cannot afford basic needs like adequate housing, childcare, food, education, transportation or healthcare. 

Background on Equal Pay for Equal Work for Women-
In Louisiana women are paid 68 cents for every dollar a man is paid. This figure is even more startling for Latinas who are paid 51 cents on the dollar and Black women who make 48 for every dollar a white man is paid. According to Governor Edwards 80% of minimum wage earners are women. 40% of Louisiana households are headed by women and 38% of those households earn less than the poverty line for a family of 4. Over 64,000 working women in New Orleans make less than $17,500 per year.  

Background on Ban the Box Fair Chance-
Upon release from prison, 60% of people cannot find a job in their first year and those that do make 40% less than their colleagues. The inability of people with records to access employment due to discrimination before and during the hiring process keeps those most marginalized in poverty and forces them to engage in informal economies to maintain basic living standards, putting them at risk of being incarcerated again. Black men make up 46% of the unemployment rate in New Orleans and one in fourteen are behind bars, it is imperative that we change economic and social conditions for Black men, families, and communities so they have access to quality jobs and future economic mobility. In Louisiana one in 86 people living in the state--the world’s prison capital--is incarcerated. Formerly Incarcerated People are discouraged to apply because of the chilling affect of a ‘box’ on job applications asking applicants to disclose their arrest history. Job callback rate drops by at least 50% when a person has been arrested. 

Biographical sketch of the Keynote Presentation-  
The Step Up Louisiana Economic Justice Committee will co-lead the conversation. We are parents, workers, clergy, labor leaders and community leaders from across the city. We wake up every day fighting to keep our communities and economy strong. We dream of a city where every New Orleans resident has the opportunity to access a good job with a family sustaining wage. Our Co-Director Ben Zucker is a labor and community organizer who is passionate about ending poverty.  He brings new leaders to the table and is working to build a sustainable scalable membership throughout the state of Louisiana. Ben did shop floor and coalition organizing for the Fight for 15 campaign before co-founding Step Up. He has worked with and for several other organizations and social movements including United Students Against Sweatshops, the Occupy Movement, New York Communities for Change, Jobs with Justice and the Alliance for Migration, Leadership and Development. Some victories Ben has been proud to be a part of organizing include the $10.10 minimum wage increase in Connecticut and the New York Fast Food Worker Wage Board $15 victory. Ben graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Public Health in 2011. You can reach Ben at  

History of Step Up Louisiana- 
The members of Step Up Louisiana are committed to building political power to win education and economic justice for all. Our members Step Up and go beyond voting to organize from a racial justice perspective and campaign to hold political and community leaders accountable. We work in our own neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces to disrupt systemic oppression.  Step Up Louisiana was founded in February 2017.  The American South has a long history of inequality in its economic and education systems. Much of that inequality is built upon structural racism and white supremacy that has pitted poor and disenfranchised people of all communities against one another to support a morally and politically corrupt hierarchy.  Step Up was founded to work toward greater education and economic justice by filling an organizing void in the state. We are a multiracial, intergenerational, membership-based organization that endeavors to develop leaders who can effectively advocate for their communities to ensure that the people of those communities have reliable access to family sustaining jobs and sustainable community schools.  While the need for this type of organization in Louisiana has been long-standing, outrage over the election of Donald Trump helped to activate many of the state’s residents who saw an immediate need for a racial and economic justice movement that could hit the ground running and fight for the kinds of policies and community initiatives that will make real and lasting change.    

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please speak your mind. Of course, we know you will be courteous and civil. You may use html tags like "a href", "b", "i", etc.


Videos from Friends


News/Blog Roll: