U.S. Poverty Weekly Update February 2, 2016
U.S. Poverty Campaigns
Weekly Update | February 2, 2016
In This Week’s Update:
Quick Action: Send a letter to the editor urging leaders to expand the EITC for childless workers
Got Two Minutes? Use the Election to Send in a Letter to the Editor (or Two)
The Iowa Caucuses officially kicked off the 2016 election season last night. Regardless of which candidate you support, this year’s election is going to be big news for weeks and months to come. What a great opportunity to shape the debate about poverty in America. Instead of covering the next scandal or “he said/she said” candidate attacks, use the media to get coverage of the things that matter most to everyday Americans.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to use the election coverage in your local paper as a hook to send personalize and send a letter to the editor (LTE) urging lawmakers and candidates to protect programs that lift and keep people out of poverty. RESULTS has two different letters you can send: our tax credit LTE that asks elected leaders to build on the successful push to save key Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) provisions by expanding the EITC for workers without children. Our nutrition LTE urges leaders to protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) from cuts or efforts to restructure the program. Make this election about things that are important by submitting your letter to the editor (or two!) today.
Got Ten Minutes or More? Start Reading Between the World and Me (February Action)
As we continue to advocate for policies that promote economic mobility and address the growing wealth gap, in particular the racial wealth gap, this month we are focusing on educating ourselves deeper about racial injustice in America. The book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a deeply personal account of one African-American man’s experience of being black in America. While not everyone will agree with his insights, his views prompt some important questions that all Americans should ponder and discuss about our racist past and how to move forward from here.
The wealth gap between rich and poor in America is growing dangerously large and nowhere is it more stark than for communities of color. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s new report, Investing in Tomorrow: Helping Families Build Savings and Assets, shows that median net worth of white households was more than 10 times greater than that of African-American or Latino families in 2013. While white families’ net worth rose by two percent from 2010 to 2013, Latino and African-American families’ net worth fell by 15 percent and 34 percent, respectively. This gap has its roots in historical and modern government polices – including racial discrimination in housing, lending, land-ownership, and education-related government programs. Educating ourselves about these injustices is the first step in taking action to remedy them (the AECF report provides several recommendations for how to reduce the racial wealth gap).
TAKE ACTION: Take ten or more minutes to start reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Jot down any thoughts or insights you get from the book and then bring your notes to your February RESULTS group meeting. The February Action has sample discussion questions to get the conversation started at your meetings. In addition, RESULTS will also host an online “Virtual Book Club” discussion of Between the World and Me on February 18 at 1:00pm and 8:00pm ET. To join the conversation, login at: http://fuze.me/27491886 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886#.
We will discuss the racial wealth gap on our February 13 U.S. Poverty National Webinar at 12:30 pm ET (more details in next Week’s Update).
Build on EITC Awareness Day to Push for Expanding the EITC
Last Friday, advocates on Capitol Hill and across the country celebrated “EITC Awareness Day.” In addition to local events to get the word out about tax credits to low-income working families, RESULTS participated in a standing-room-only Capitol Hill briefing hosted by Tax Credits for Working Families and CFED, which featured Johns Hopkins Professor Kathryn Edin, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Laurie-Anne Sayles, who shared firsthand how important the EITC was to her family. At least 64 Congressional staff RSVP’d for the event – congratulations to many of you who urged tax staffers to attend! Advocates celebrated Congress’s work to save key EITC and CTC provisions in December, which the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports is the biggest anti-poverty legislative victory outside of the Affordable Care Act in over 20 years, and discussed expanding the EITC for younger workers and those who do not claim children when filing their taxes – a proposal with support from House Speaker Ryan and President Obama. We urge you to watch the video of the event for a deeper understanding of ways we can further expand tax credits.
TAKE ACTION: Build on the momentum of last year’s tax deal by pushing Congress to expand the EITC. In addition to submitting LTEs (above), contact schedulers to set up face-to-face meetings with your representatives and senators for the Presidents’ Day recess (week of February 15). You can find contact information and the names of the Washington DC schedulers on our Elected Officials page (under “Staff”), and see the January Action and our online meeting request tool for tips on requesting meetings and language to use in your verbal or written request. If you cannot get a sit-down meeting, be sure to ask if they have any town halls scheduled for that week. If they’re booked up in February, ask for the next possible date to meet (even if it’s a few months out). Once you get your meeting scheduled, contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to get specific details about topics and requests for your meeting. Use our updated tax credits laser talk to help you prepare, print off a copy of our updated U.S. Poverty Lobby Request to leave behind with your members of Congress, and don't forget to bring copies of media you have generated!
Join RESULTS Advocacy 101 Training Next Monday Afternoon. The most effective strategy to influence policymakers is face-to-face visits between local constituents and members of Congress. Join RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson for a training to overview the basics on how to secure an in-district lobby meeting and make sure the meeting is a success. The webinar is next Monday, February 8 at 2:00 pm ET. To join online, go to: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/31404402 or join by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 31404402.
Please Send in Your Group Plans. Thank you to everyone who has already sent in their 2016 Group Plan Summary (PDF version) outlining your group goals for this year. If you have not submitted your plan yet, please send a copy to Jos Linn at [email protected] as soon as possible.
White House Hosts Child Hunger Panel. Last week, the White House held a “Conversation on Child Hunger in America” to discuss the pervasiveness of child hunger in the U.S. and the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) in alleviating hunger. The panel discussion included Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, academics, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA-2), a former SNAP participant, and anti-hunger advocates from local and national groups, who discussed the effects of malnutrition and hunger and how anti-hunger programs make a difference in the lives of children. You can watch a portion of the discussion on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/g0_6HMS6mUs.
Read about RESULTS Outreach on the RESULTS Blog – Atlanta Next Week! RESULTS staff has been busy this winter working to expand our volunteer network. Read about recent and upcoming events and how you can attend (or invite people you know to) these exciting events in our new RESULTS Outreach Blog post.
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.
Congressional Recesses: House: February 13-21. Senate: February 13-21. Request face-to-face meetings.
RESULTS Advocacy 101 Webinar, February 8 at 2:00 pm ET. Join at https://www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/f2988286/31404402 or dial (201) 479-4595, meeting ID 31404402#.
RESULTS Introductory Call, February 10, at 9:00 pm ET. If you want to learn more about RESULTS, register for an upcoming Intro Call on the RESULTS website.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, February 13 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/28130766 or dial in by phone at (201) 479-4595, meeting ID: 28130766#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.
Presidents’ Day, February 15. All RESULTS offices closed.
RESULTS Virtual Book Club Discussion: Between the World and Me, February 18 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. These calls will be a virtual book club to discuss the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Anyone is welcomed to join the discussion. Note that U.S. Poverty Free Agents will participate in these calls in lieu of our regular third Tuesday calls in February. Join online at: http://fuze.me/27491886; or by phone at (201) 479-4595 and enter Meeting ID: 27491886. For more information, contact Jos Linn ([email protected]).
2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Save the dates!
If you have a question, comment or suggestion for the RESULTS/RESULTS Educational Fund Board, please e-mail them to RESULTS Grassroots Board Member Lydia Pendley at [email protected]. You can download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.