U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 22, 2017
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | August 22, 2017
“Medicaid and SNAP allow these parents to provide food for their families and visit the doctors when their children sick.”
– RESULTS Olympia volunteer and REAL Change Fellow Coco Chang in an August 19 letter to the editor in The Olympian
Got Two Minutes? Look for Town Halls to Attend and Ask a Question (August Action)
On last Tuesday’s U.S. Poverty National Webinar, volunteers took time to reflect on the recent progress we’ve made on protecting Medicaid when the Senate health repeal failed in late July. This victory was no fluke. It came about because millions of people like you stood up against efforts to end the Medicaid program as we know it. Your e-mails, letters, media, and most of all face-to-face encounters with lawmakers is what snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Congress will only be on recess for two more weeks. They need to continue to hear from you about protecting programs that serve those who are struggling to get by. Let your lawmakers know that the ground-shaking you created on health care was just the first tremor. Find and attend a town hall in your area to urge your members of Congress to 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 this month. 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.
Got Ten Minutes? Inspire Lawmakers to End Poverty (August Action)
Although town halls are a great way to get a quick question in about our issues, the sit-down, face-to-face meeting is the Rosetta Stone of advocacy. Being able to talk at length about the importance of SNAP to families in your community or how Medicaid provides important services to local communities or that the EITC and CTC encourage work in your state is the key to creating change in Washington.
In this time of fear-based politics, use your advocacy skills to inspire. When you inspire someone, you help them to see beyond the immediate solution to something bigger, something that endures. You provide them vision. But that’s difficult to do in an e-mail or a phone call. Inspiration comes from interaction. In our work, it comes from the face-to-face meeting.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up on your requests face-to-face meetings with your representatives and senators in August. Contact schedulers (on our Elected Officials page under “Staff” for your members of Congress) 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.
If you cannot get a meeting this month, Congress will also have recesses this fall. See if you can schedule a meeting during these times:
- House fall recesses: September 18-22, October 16-20
- Senate fall recesses: September 21-22, October 9-13
As you get meetings or town halls scheduled, please include them in our Lobby Meeting Schedule Form. When you get a meeting or town hall on your calendar, please contact Meredith Dodson to get individualized coaching for your meeting.
Got Twenty Minutes to Start Growing the Movement for Justice and Equity?
A man is walking down the street and falls into deep hole and can’t get out. After several passers-by ignore his plight, he sees his friend and asks her for help. She immediately jumps down in the hole with him. The man says: “Are you crazy? Now we’re both stuck down here!” She responds, “I know, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”
–Paraphrased from the episode “Noel” of The West Wing
It is not a surprise that the events in Charlottesville, VA on August 12 have shaken many Americans. As RESULTS Executive Director Joanne Carter noted in her statement following the incident, poverty is one of the disastrous by-products of racial oppression. Years of discriminatory public policies against persons of color have resulted in a disproportionate number of them being in poverty. And the demonization of “the poor” as morally inferior (and the policies resulting from that mindset) has pushed both low-income persons of color and low-income white Americans into a cycle of enduring poverty. It has to stop.
Many times these problems seem too big to fix. But you know otherwise. You know that writing a letter or making a call or having a meeting can have a profound impact on a person. When you decide to act – no matter how or small the gesture – your world changes. The impossible suddenly seems not so impossible after all. There are countless people out there who see tragedy and injustice closing in around them. It’s like they’re stuck in a hole. Fortunately, you know the way out.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to think about how you can help grow the movement to end poverty. A good start is to review the reflection exercise we did on the August National Webinar and use the answers you came up with to formulate a plan to do outreach this fall. Here are the questions to contemplate:
1.How did you feel when you heard that the Senate had defeated attempts to gut Medicaid?
2.Why did you feel that way? In other words, what underlying value(s) did this victory connect to within in you?
3.We know that this victory was an important one, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. We have setbacks too. As you think of your work with RESULTS now and in the future, what motivates or sustains you to keep going?
4.Taking what you’ve written down into account, what is one action you will take in the next month to grow the movement to end poverty in America?
You can also help support our outreach efforts by connecting others to our work in other parts of the country (see below where we are working).
We know that giving a mere twenty minutes to the fight for justice and equity is wholly inadequate. But the point is to start (which is sometimes the hardest part). Doing this exercise for twenty minutes will hopefully lead to another twenty minutes, and another, and another.
Welcome RESULTS South Dakota! Last week, RESULTS Grassroots Manager for U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn spent time in Wyoming and South Dakota. After a successful Medicaid overview for volunteers in Cheyenne, Jos traveled to Rapid City, SD and Spearfish, SD for outreach meetings with RESULTS volunteer Dani Adams (she’s from Rapid City) and 2017-18 REAL Change Fellow Brooke Abdallah. Because of Dani and Brooke’s great prep work in the area, we started two new groups in western South Dakota. We are excited to have these new volunteers join the effort to end poverty in America. If you know people in this area who might want to join one of these groups, please contact Jos for more details. Welcome, Spearfish and Rapid City!
Outreach Efforts Continue., RESULTS Grassroots Organizer Kristy Martino continues to build a RESULTS presence in various places around the country. If you know people in Morgantown, WV, Eugene, OR, Portland, OR, as well as Portland, ME and Maine coastal areas, contact Kristy to get them connected to her outreach efforts.
Play with Voter Voice. As mentioned last week, we are transitioning to a new advocacy database called Voter Voice. This transition has already begun with our new Action Center page. This page includes new action alerts, information on elected officials, and other resources. Check it out and take an action or two to see what it’s like.
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.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, August 22 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. To participate, login at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.
RESULTS Introductory Call, Friday, August 25 at 1:00pm ET. Register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.
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.