Below are the speakers and organizations who presented at the 23rd Marshall T Meyer Retreat for Social Justice: Building Economic Resilience in Faith Communities, organized by the panel and topic.
I. Faith Based Perspectives on Wealth, Poverty, and Consumerism
• Rev. Dillon Burgin, CUSH-Churches United to Serve and Heal http://cushnewyork.org/home
• Prof. Sachi Dastidar, Probini Foundation http://www.probini.org/
• Arvind Kaur, United Sikhs http://unitedsikhs.org/index.php
• Ilene Marcus, Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty www.metcouncil.org
• Imam Necmettin Kizilkaya, Iqra Mosque http://www.iqramasjid.org/iqra.htm
• Rev. Compassion Chris Raines, NY Buddhist Council http://newyorkbuddhistcouncil.com/
II. Faith Based Alternatives to Debt and High Interest Lending
• 10% is Enough Campaign http://www.10percentisenough.org/
Speaker: Rev. David Haberer; A faith-based campaign to cap credit interest rates at 10%.
• National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions www.cdcu.coop
Speaker: Brain Gately; Community Development Credit Union’s mission is to serve low-income and minority communities beyond the reach of banks and mainstream credit unions. They specialize in serving populations generally considered the hardest to serve, including low-income wage earners, recent immigrants, and people with disabilities.
• Hebrew Free Loan Society http://www.hfls.org/
Speaker: Shana Novick; HFLS makes interest-free loans for philanthropic purposes throughout the New York metropolitan area.
• Straightway Ethical Advisory http://www.straightwayethical.com/
Speaker: Shaykh Taha Abdul Basser; a shari`a advisory, founded and operated by Islamic ethicists, that offers ethical consulting services to the shari`a-compliant financial services sector.
III. Pass It On: Financial Empowerment Education for Clergy
• NYC Financial Empowerment Office www.nyc.gov/ofe
Speaker: Seema Shah; “Beyond helping New York’s working families and individuals secure benefits to which they’re entitled or tackling exploitive practices, DCA’s OFE seeks to improve their economic condition, making it the only local government program of its kind in the nation.”
IV. Credit Card Reform and Advocacy
• Consumers Union: “Defend Your Dollars Campaign” www.defendyourdollars.org
Speaker: Lauren Bowne; Defend Your Dollars is the website of the Consumers Union Financial Services Campaign, where they support reforms to the financial marketplace to curb unfair practices by banks and lenders
V. Resource Fair/Workshops
• SEEDCO www.seedco.org
Speaker: Susmitha Nallamshetty; great resource for accessing benefits, job help, career counseling, etc
• Asian Americans for Equality http://www.aafecdf.org/
Speakers: Richard Lee & JoAnn Yo. Targets Low income families, immigrants, and Minorities within NYC, Helps with homeowner counseling, mortgages, credit card information
• Habitat-NYC: Loan Rangers, Rent to Own Loans and Tax Program http://www.habitatnyc.org/advocate/loan_rangers/
Speaker: Tristin Dreisbach; Habitat-NYC teaches low-income consumers on how to avoid high-cost loans, scams and how to save money. Loan Rangers is a train the trainer program to educate communities about various loan scams including tax refund and rent to own loans.
• Federation of Faith Based Credit Unions www.natfed.org
Speaker: Brain Gately; The Federation’s Faith-based Credit Union Program coordinates training, technical assistance, and capital services to faith-based credit unions and organizing groups. It continues to be one of the few programs in the credit union movement that provides services that address the specific needs of small, religious-affiliated institutions.
VI. Media Resources/Documentaries
• “Safeguarding Your Future, One Student Loan at a Time”
Available for free from the NY Attorney General’s Office http://www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/student_loan/about.html
• I.O.U.S.A., a documentary http://www.iousathemovie.com/
Examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States and its citizens.