Willie Baptist joined the Picture the Homeless board in January 2011, after being a long time friend and mentor of many of us here. A formerly homeless father who came out of the Watts uprisings, the Black Student Movement, and working as a lead organizer with the United Steelworkers, Willie has 40 years of experience organizing amongst the poor. He has been a leader of the National Union of the Homeless, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, the National Welfare Rights Union, the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, and many other networks. Willie serves as the Poverty Initiative Scholar-in-Residence and is the Coordinator of the Poverty Scholars Program at Union Theological Seminary.
He is a Board member of the United Workers of Maryland, Picture the Homeless in New York and on the Advisory Committee for the Wildfire Project. Willie is the author of numerous books, articles, and pamphlets including Pedagogy of the Poor, A New and Unsettling Force: Re-Igniting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, It’s Not Enough to Be Angry, Lessons from the Poor Organizing the Poor: 5 Main Ingredients and the 6 Panther P’s. Willie presently serves as the Poverty Initiative Scholar-in-Residence and Co-Coordinator of Poverty Scholarship and Leadership Development for the Kairos Center.
Left Forum 2008
Poverty and Poor People's Movements - Social Analysis and Reflections on Strategies:
- This workshop analyzes the political economy of today ís poverty and discusses the potentials and difficulties of re-igniting sustainable poor peopleís movements today, looking at theoretical debates and the experiences of current anti-poverty movements in the US.
- Willie Baptist, Poverty Initiative, Union Theological Seminary
- Chris Caruso, Cultural Anthropology, Graduate Center, CUNY
- Jan Rehmann, Co-editor, German Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism, Philosophy and Social Theories, Union Theological Seminary
- Liz Theoharis, Coordinator of the Poverty Initiative, Union Theological Seminary
- Moderator: Charlene Sinclair, Union Theological Seminary, Organizer in Poor People's movements
Left Forum 2010
Union Strategies, Poor People's Movements and Crisis:
- Jan Rehmann, (Chair), Union Theological Seminary
- Willie Baptist, Poverty Initiative
- Janice Fine, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
- Saladin Muhammad, Black Workers for Justice, Electrical Workers
- Lian Hurst Mann, National School for Strategic Organizing
- Christina Kaindl, "We-Won't-Pay-for-Your-Crisis" Coalition, Germany
Left Forum 2011
Reading the Bible from the Left: St. Paul the Community Organizer:
- Brigitte Kahl, Union Theological Seminary
- Charlene Sinclair, Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary
- Liz Theoharis, Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary
- Willie Baptist, Poverty Scholars Program of the Poverty Initiative
Ear to the Ground Project
- We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:
Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
LeftRoots HangOut with Willie Baptist
Please join LeftRoots Friday August 15th (2014) for our next HangOut with Willie Baptist about the importance of leadership, leadership development and understanding who the ruling class is and what their strategies are.
On May 1, 1990, the National Union of the Homeless (NUH) launched a nationally coordinated campaign taking over federally-owned houses in eight cities across the country. Willie Baptist, our guest on the next LeftRoots HangOut, was one of the organizers of the NUH.
Founded in 1985 by formerly homeless people, the Union was on the move in the late 1980s. At its height, the Homeless Union counted on 25 chapters with as many as 15,000 members. Then, through a combination of drugs, prison-sentencing and co-optation, the ruling class mounted a concerted effort to break the Union. The organization dissolved by 1993.
Willie Baptist is one of the best examples of a movement intellectual. Willie is a formerly homeless father who came out of the Watts Uprisings, the Black Student Movement and has been an organizer with the United Steelworkers as well as the National Union of the Homeless and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union. Today, Willie is the Scholar-in-Residence with the Poverty Initiative.
Picture the Homeless Board of Directors
Todd Wolfson in his book "Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left" thanked activists from the Media Mobilizing Project and Philadelphia, including Shivaani Selvaraj, Mica Root, Phil Wider, Nijmie Dzurinko, Desi Burnette, Ron Blount, Alix Webb, Bryan Mercer, Rebekah Scotland Phillips, Kristin Campbell, Hannah Jane Sassaman, Erika Almiron, Rachel Goffe, Megan Williamson, Fred Pinguel, Amalia Deloney, Martin Lautz, John Hough, Steve Chrevenka, Al Alston, Carmen Cuadrado, Amendu Evans, Audra Traynham, Peter Bloom, Lawrence Jones, Charles Clark, Koby Murphy, Quon Chance, Willie Baptist, Liz Theoharis, Liz McElroy, Mohammad Shukur, Bill Zoda, Tekle Gebrehmdin, Patrick Animah, Gary Broderick, Dina Yarmus, Ron Whitehorne, Patricia Eakin and others. 
- PTH boaard 2015
- LeftRoots, LEFTROOTS HANGOUT: ASSESSING RULING CLASS STRATEGY WITH WILLIE BAPTIST AUGUST 15, 2014
- PTH boaard 2015
- [Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left By Todd Wolfson. Acknowledgements]