U.S. Poverty Campaigns Weekly Update August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | August 29, 2017

“Some days, school lunches were the only full meal I had as a child. Like my family, many thousands of Wake County residents receive SNAP benefits.. it is important to safeguard the social safety nets that put food on the table for so many children in North Carolina.”

RESULTS Triangle volunteer and REAL Change Fellow Shima Idries in an August 29 letter to the editor in The News and Observer

Quick Action: Tell Congress to Prioritize Working Families in Tax Legislation

Got Two Minutes? Find Your Members of Congress at a Final Town Hall, Parade, or Even a State Fair! (August Action)

Congress is on recess for another week – let’s make sure they hear from us and protect Medicaid, SNAP, and tax credits for working families.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to contact House and Senate schedulers about events (town halls, public meetings, and other events) your members of Congress may be holding. The August Action has sample Laser Talks you can use for questions at these events. Also visit www.townhallproject.com to look for events. Once you find an event to attend, contact Meredith Dodson ASAP to get coaching for your specific events – and fill out a lobby report form afterwards. And, don’t forget to make the most of the event by working the media, as RESULTS K-State members Kennedy Hackerott and Garrett Wilkinson did at this Farm Bill event last Saturday!

Got Ten Minutes? Add to Our Record-Breaking 155 Lobby Meetings this Year! (August Action)

RESULTS volunteers have interacted face-to-face with members of Congress to discuss US poverty issues 155 times so far this year – 32 more than any other annual tally! But, there are critical policy battles ahead, and a sit-down, face-to-face meeting allows you to tell stories about how poverty impacts your community, get a deeper sense of your senator or representative’s priorities, and inspire them to take action.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up on your requests face-to-face meetings with your representatives and senators – and push for a meeting this fall if you will not get one during the August recess:

  • House fall recesses: September 18-22, October 16-20
  • Senate fall recesses: September 21-22, October 9-13

Contact schedulers (plug in your address on our new Elected Officials page , then click on your senators’ or representative’s name to scroll down to “Staff Members”) to check on the status your meeting requests (or to submit one if you have not done so). The August Action has tips for requesting meetings and Laser Talks on the issues you want to highlight in your meetings. When you get a meeting or town hall on your calendar, please contact Meredith Dodson to get individualized coaching for your meeting – and don’t forget to fill out a lobby report form after the meeting!

Got Twenty Minutes? Think About How to Tell Your Story When the Census Bureau Releases Latest Poverty Data

We have an enormous opportunity to #TalkPoverty in the coming weeks. While news outlets around the country may be writing about the release of the 2016 Census on September 12, most likely they will focus on the numbers. We can tell the stories of the people behind the numbers, those most impacted by the programs and policies we must fight vigorously to protect. The public often have a hard time understanding the nuances of policy, but a story, the human experience, is something we all can connect to.

TAKE ACTION: Begin work now to focus on storytelling for advocacy to shape important policy decisions in Congress this fall and beyond. Here are three prompts to get you started:

  1. What do you care about? Start big and broad. Try a “brainstorm map,” list out words, names, events, places, details to jumpstart your thinking. Might be useful to look back on your reflections from this month’s webinar exercise!
  2. Was there a moment that changed or impacted your thinking? Drill down into something on your map. Choose a particular moment in time, an epiphany about a program or aspect of a program we advocate for that affected you personally or your community, etc. Get specific. Jot down a few descriptive sentences. Keep it loose. Think of this as building assets for your final piece.  
  3. What’s at stake? Now you should have what you care about, and a particular moment or aspect to dive into. This is the part where we can start developing that “call to action.” What’s at stake? What are the risks? Why do we need to protect critical anti-poverty programs? Why should the reader care about this issue? Again, get specific and utilize the human experience. Jot down a few more sentences, and don’t forget to list out sensory details—the stickiest bits of stories—to illustrate and humanize your concerns.

At this point, you should have a very loose outline, and some material to draw from when you next sit down to write. Though, if you’ve caught the writing bug at this point, don’t stop! Go back through and continue to zero-in on what’s most important, revealing, and powerful to you. Turn this exercise into a sharp LTE, or a rich and persuasive Op-Ed – which you can submit before the poverty data is released so your community has context for the new numbers, or after by tailoring our post-release templates. Want more materials? Check out the slides and worksheet from our “Art and Agency of Storytelling” workshop last month. Let’s create change through powerful storytelling!

Quick News

Coalition on Human Needs Webinar on New Poverty Data September 7: On September 12, the Census Bureau will release its annual poverty, income and health insurance survey data.  Register for CHN’s handy preview to hear from Jared Bernstein about the data might say and how to use the findings. 

Congratulations New Grassroots Board Members. We’re excited to welcome Willie Dickerson and Steve McGee to serve three-year terms as representatives of the volunteer grassroots body. Read more about these terrific new leadership additions on our blog as we also express our gratitude to those grassroots board members ending their terms. 

Check Out the New RESULTS Group Leader Training and Handbook and other tools on our Group Resources page.

Upcoming Events

Go to the RESULTS Events Calendar to see a full list of RESULTS events. Also, find a list of the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff with contact information on the RESULTS website.

Upcoming U.S. Poverty staff vacations: Jos Linn: August 24 – September 4.

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: July 31-September 4, September 18-22, October 16-20; Senate: August 7 – September 4, September 21-22, October 9-13.

2017 U.S. Census Poverty Data Release, Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, September 12 at 8:00 pm ET. Participate at http://fuze.me/32255914 or (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#.

If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Vanessa Garcia at [email protected]. You can view the most recently published minutes from Board meetings on the RESULTS website, as well as download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report.

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