Single-Payer Strategy Conference, Jan. 13 – Jan. 15, 2017

December 10, 2016

Join Us in New York, NY!

You are invited to join hundreds of activists for a weekend of inspiration and strategy to win single-payer national health insurance! This year’s national Strategy Conference will be hosted in New York, where the Campaign for New York Health has passed single-payer legislation through the state Assembly the past two years and is closing in on legislation in the Senate. The conference also takes place one week before the Presidential Inauguration, providing space for new activists and experienced leaders alike to learn best organizing practices from around the country and analyze the challenges and opportunities facing the single-payer movement this coming year.

Rally: Friday, January 13, 4:00PM-5:00PM
Reception: Friday, January 13, 7:00PM-9:00PM
Conference: Saturday, January 14, 9:00AM-5:30PM; and Sunday, January 15, 9:00AM-12:00 noon

Conference Venues:
Healthcare Justice Rally at Trump Plaza (Friday, 4PM-5PM): 5th Ave & East 56th St, New York, NY 10019
Friday night reception (7PM-9PM): Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, Grand Ballroom, 2nd floor, 481 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001
Saturday (9AM-6PM) and Sunday (9AM-noon) conference: AFSCME District Council 37, 125 Barclay St, New York, NY 10007

Conference flyer: Download a PDF version here. (If printing multiple copies, please use a union print shop!)

Conference Wiki: Coming soon!

Live tweets: Follow the conference (or comment on the conference) on twitter using #spscny and #singlepayer

Registration: Follow the three steps below to complete your conference registration!

STEP 1 – Please Register for the Conference

Click here to register online today! Early registration is $75 per person through Friday, December 16, after which registration rises to $85 per person. Registration includes lunch on Saturday (Jan 14th) and continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday (Jan 14th-15th), along with access to the Friday night reception at the Wyndham New Yorker and all plenaries and workshops Saturday and Sunday.

Registration does not book you a hotel room – proceed to Step 2!

STEP 2 – Book Your Hotel Room

Healthcare-NOW and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare have reserved a block of rooms at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel at $149 per night. The New Yorker Hotel is located half a block away from Penn Station. You can book a room with one queen-sized bed or two double beds at this rate, and attendees are welcome to share rooms if they wish at no additional charge. The cut-off date for getting the group rate is Friday, December 30th, but we also have limited rooms in our block and may run out prior to December 30th! You can book you room online or by phone:

Solidarity Housing and Hotel Room Sharing

Follow this link for our solidarity housing and room sharing page for the conference! Here we list everyone (anonymously) offering and seeking solidarity housing, as well everyone interested in sharing a hotel room, along with any criteria they may have (e.g. gender preference, allergies to cats/dogs, etc.). If you would like to have a post added to our solidarity housing page, or be put in touch with anyone who has a post listed, shoot us an email at!

STEP 3 – Support the Conference With an Ad or Name Listing in the Program Book!

Click here to purchase an ad in the Conference Program Book! Ads in the program book are a great way to show your support for the movement, to thank particular organizations or individuals, or to get the word out about your work. This year, we are seeking a small number of “Platinum Sponsors” to make a $2,500 donation that will enable us to host the opening night reception at the hotel, and comes with a complimentary full-page ad and a free registration fee.

Ithaca Community MatchUp Sunday Dec. 11th, 2-5 pm

December 3, 2016

Ithaca Community MatchUp
Sunday Dec. 11th, 2-5 pm

We are entering into uncertain times with a divided nation. It is more important than ever to build community and make sure that everyone’s basic needs are met and their civil rights ensured. No one understands this better than the agencies, institutions, coalitions and nonprofits that provide support services and advocacy for marginalized and under-served populations, as well as those organisations fighting to preserve our environment. These all serve a critical function in our community, and they must receive the support they need if we are to prosper as a society in the future.

Local Tompkins County Legislator Anna Kelles, a long-time community activist, recognizes their uncertainty and concern. She feels called to action, as do many others, including the Tompkins County Progressive Committee members. Anna is working on dozens of ideas, including a community event that will connect community members with local organizations. This event, which she  is calling a “Community MatchUp” will take place on Sunday, December 11th, from 2 to 5 pm, in the Space at Greenstar. There will be food, music and good cheer, and dozens of worthy local organizations!

Anna’s Community MatchUp is meant to be a matchmaking event, a quick and fun way to see what is already in place in our community, and to support existing efforts to help marginalized populations and the environment. What does each organization need to continue to support basic needs and civil rights in our community? Do they need volunteers, board members, funding, networking support?  Visitors can certainly make one-time monetary donations, but Anna hopes that people will want to develop deeper relationships. Each one of us alone cannot guarantee that all organizations thrive, but if we each adopt one or several that inspire us, and build a relationship with them, we as a community can meet critical needs as they arise.

Anna is asking each organization to bring a mailing list signup form, a volunteer signup form (where applicable), and a donation box for their table. She also asks each organization to have a one-page handout sheet that includes the organization’s name, contact information, website and a brief answer to the following three questions:
• what is the organization’s mission?
• who is the target population served?
• and what are the current and upcoming needs of the organization?
Tables and tablecloths will be provided.  Participating organizations are asked to bring any additional material they may need, as well as fun holiday decorations for their tables.

Visitors are invited to donate time and/or money. These can be given in the spirit of the holidays, in the name of a loved one or of future generations, or on behalf the planet. For those who wish, Anna will have holiday cards for donors take and give to their loved ones, in which they can describe the donation they made in honor of their friend or family member.
During the event, there will be a silent auction to raise money for organizations and initiatives in rural communities outside of Ithaca. America is facing the hard truth that we are a nation divided along urban/suburban and rural lines, and this divide has kept us suffering socially, economically, environmentally, and emotionally. Raising money for our nearby rural communities is one way we can begin to heal this divide.  
Anna says: The golden age of organizing and activism has begun and we are all invited to take part in the change that we see needs to happen. It’s time to tear down walls and nurture the values of acceptance, mutual respect, and unity. True prosperity will only manifest when EVERYONE’s basic needs are met and EVERYONE has a voice at the table of revolution.

December 11th is just around the corner, of course, so we could really use your help to make this event a success!  The entire event is volunteer-driven with zero budget, so if you or someone you know is inspired, you can show your support not only by attending, but also promoting it among your friends, by volunteering to help set up or clean up, by donating finger food and snacks for participants, or bydonating for the silent auction table.
If you would like more information about the MatchUp event, you can visit the website or the facebook page where you will find and be able to share the facebook event.

If you know an organization that is oriented around local basic human needs, social and civil rights, or the environment, feel free to forward this bernletter to them and invite them to apply for a table. .
If you are able to volunteer or donate food, please send an email to If you are able to donate something for the silent auction, please fill out this form
We hope to see you and your friends at the Community MatchUp on December 11th!

Film Screening & Panel Discussion FIX IT: Health Care at the Tipping Point

September 20, 2016

Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Health Care at the Tipping Point
Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, at 7:30 PM
     Hosted by GreenStar
The SPACE, 701 W. Buffalo St , Ithaca, NY
           FREE and Open to the Public
This new film looks at health care from a businessman’s perspective, delves deeply into the current health care crisis, runaway health care COSTS, and economic impact,and discusses an alternative method of health care financing
Panel Discussion
The New York Health Act, What is it and how would it be financed?                
Challenges: Medical, Business, and Local Government Perspectives
Don Barber Founding Chair and Exec. Dr., Tompkins Health Ins. Consortium
Cor Drost – President and CEO, Transonics Systems, Inc
Rebecca Elgie Founding Chair, FingerLakes for NY Health (FLNYH)
Susan Soboroff, MD  Family Physician and member of PNHP, FLNYH
Anita Watkins – retired teacher, lived under Canadian Health Care 28 years
Sponsored by: Local First Ithaca and the New York Sustainable Business Council
For questions call Barb Harrison @ 279 6429 or email


Students for the New York Health Act, Lobby Day in Albany! Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 10am – 4pm

January 7, 2016



Medical and health professional students from across New York State will descend on Albany to advocate for the right to health care! All students are welcome to attend. No prior lobbying or advocacy experience necessary. Lobby training will be available. Transportation offered from New York City. More details here.

Rise Again Singalong Benefit Concert, Oct. 31 Ithaca, NY

October 28, 2015

Sales of refreshments will go to Single Payer New York.

Come to a Singalong Benefit Concert, October 31, with Annie Patterson & Peter Blood, the creators of Rise Up Singing, celebrating the release of their long-awaited 2nd songbook Rise Again! – joined by Kim & Reggie Harris, Charlie King and Sparky & Rhonda Rucker, & Jan Nigro singing Walk A Mile.

This concert will be a benefit for the new Carry It On Fund, which raises funds to support organizations and causes that Pete & Toshi Seeger were deeply committed to. 

Locally, tickets will be available at Green Star,  Autumn Leaves, Ithaca Guitar Works and the Tompkins County Workers’ Center 

$18 in advance $20 at the door, HS and younger $5 

Oct 31 2015 – 7:30pm 

St Paul’s Methodist Church 
402 N. Aurora Street 
Ithaca , NY 14850 

Contact: Melody Johnson 

The Cornell Folk Song Society                 We Are Seneca Lake
Ithaca Friends Meeting                               Ithaca Catholic Workers
Poplar Ridge Friends                                   Perry City Friends
Tompkins County Workers Center

Songbooks will also be available to borrow or buy the evening of the concert, $5 off retail prices.  20 or more books are $13/book for small size & $15/book for large size. 

We hope to have our audience celebrate and reflect the diversity that we have in our Ithaca community. 
Our performers have been politically active throughout their careers, particularly in areas of Black History, Civil Rights, peace and social justice.  This is an excellent opportunity to bring our community together.  So we are particularly interested in having those who don’t usually go to folk concerts involved. 

Contact me if you wish to help distribute tickets, particularly to those who have financial constrictions.

Tickets can also be purchased at 
and books can be pre-ordered. 

Annie Patterson has performed and led music retreats at folk festivals, coffee houses, schools and camps throughout North America, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the British Isles.  She is best known for co-creating the popular songbook Rise Up Singing, along with her husband, Peter Blood, and has just finished a new songbook, Rise Again, with 1200 more songs. During the last 2 decades, Annie has honed her skills as a folk performer and jazz vocalist. 

Peter Blood  After I graduated from college I spent six years doing anti-draft and anti-war work for groups working on peace and radical nonviolent social change.  In 1976 I began nursing school and later earned a master’s degree as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist.  I left my nursing position in 1986 to work more than full time for two years completing work on Rise Up Singing. I have divided time since then between work as a nurse, family therapist, crisis worker, and nurse educator and work as a music editor (including editing Pete Seeger’s autobiography), songleader, spiritual formation leader and teacher of Quakerism.  I taught at UMass School of Nursing from 2006-2012 and left that position to pursue work on the new book. 

Spirituality. Both Annie & I are really involved in the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and our faith is really important to us and undergirds all the work we do. Most of the songs we lead are not explicitly spiritual.  We believe, however, that the process of people discovering that they can lift their voices with others is in itself spiritual work. This often includes people who never sing because of early hurts like being told that they were tone deaf.  The songs that we felt led to include in Rise Up Singing were ones that we believed served the basic mission of our work, with a heavy emphasis on songs of hope and transformation. 

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author. He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children’s author, storyteller, and songwriter. Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances. 
Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions. 

Kim and Reggie Harris combine a strong folk and gospel legacy with a solid background in classical, rock and pop music. Creative curiosity, years of road and stage experience and interactions with performers such as Pete Seeger, Ysaye Barnwell, Jay Leno, Tom Paxton, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Harry Belafonte and others, has led them to produce music that entertains and inspires. 

Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, a city rich in cultural and musical heritage, Kim and Reggie’s early exposure to the diversity of musical styles and genres was nurtured in the schools and churches of their youth.

As a result of their CDs “Steal Away” and Get On Board” (Appleseed Recordings) and materials developed in their work with the Kennedy Center, Kim and Reggie have earned wide acclaimed for their contributions to the resources and knowledge base – in historical and educational circles – on the Underground Railroad and the modern civil rights movement. 

Kim recently completed a Ph.D. at Union Theological Seminary in NYC and both continue to write, record and produce music as a means to promote creativity, education, social responsibility and understanding in the world community!

Kim and Reggie Harris are dynamic and superbly talented traditional folk performers, whose captivating stage presence and unique harmonies has earned the respect and love of audiences throughout the US, Canada and Europe for over 30 years. They are unique in their ability to entertain audiences of any age and background as they blend their talents as singers, songwriters, educators, interpreters of history and cultural advocates. 

Charlie King is a musical storyteller and political satirist.  He has been at the heart of American folk music for half a century.  He sings and writes passionately about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.  His songs have been sung by Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, John McCutcheon, Arlo Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, Chad Mitchell and Judy Small.  His political musical influences are the folk music revival of the 1960’s, and the protest songs of the Civil Rights and Vietnam War era. “With encouraging regularity, Charlie King emerges from his self-reflection to remind us of the happy resilience of the human spirit.  His message songs vary between the funny and the frightening, but he pulls them off with unvarying taste, musical skill, and charm.” 

Jan Nigro, our special guest, is the co founder of and songwriter for the acclaimed young people’s chorus Vitamin L. Jan also performs with the group. Vitamin L has performed over 1000 concerts since 1989, has opened shows for and sung with Pete Seeger and Peter Yarrow and performed at the United Nations. Jan has also composed for National Geographic, Disney and for 15 years has been a composer in residence for the Hangar Theater’s Project 4.  Jan, his wife Janice and Vitamin L received a Certificate of Recognition from the governor of New York “for being in the forefront of helping to promote the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by promoting peace in our schools and communities.”

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