U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | May 17, 2016

“I am not a line item to be cut, my kids are not a bargaining chip when you want to make cuts.”

– RESULTS Expert on Poverty Tianna Gaines-Turner at the “A Hug from Paul Ryan” documentary press event yesterday in Washington, DC

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Media Action: Urge Congress to Protect SNAP

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? SNAP at Risk! Send in Your Letter to the Editor

If you have not submitted your letter to the editor or op-ed about protecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) yet, please do so now. We learned late last week that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) is proposing new cuts to SNAP and other programs that could be voted on as early as this week. The $23 billion in cuts to SNAP (over ten years) would eliminate state waivers for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs). As we have discussed in recent months, AWBWDs may receive SNAP benefits for only three months out of every three years. However, states can seek waivers to allow them to receive SNAP beyond that limit in times of economic stress, which many have done. Already 500,000 to 1 million of these people are likely to lose SNAP this year as a number of states are letting their waivers expire. This new proposal would eliminate the waivers altogether, thus kicking more people off SNAP by precluding states from seeking them in the first place.

This proposal is on top of the expected recommendations, as highlighted by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) on last weekend’s U.S. Poverty National Webinar, to transform SNAP into a block grant, which could force millions off the program. Stand up for SNAP by publicly calling on your members of Congress to reject these cruel and unconscionable attacks on hungry Americans.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send your letter to the editor today urging Congress to protect SNAP. Use the May Action to write your own letter and submit it or use our online SNAP letter to the editor alert to send it quickly. Be sure to mention your members of Congress by name and tell them to reject efforts to cut or restructure SNAP.

We sincerely thank Congresswoman Barbara Lee for speaking on our National Webinar last Saturday. To hear her full remarks, hear more about the May Action, and hear success stories from the grassroots, go to our National Webinars page for the recording, slides, and summary.

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Got Ten Minutes? SNAP Up Your Game with a SNAP Op-ed (May Action)

As noted above, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is facing a new round of attacks from House leaders, with the chamber expected to vote on a bill cutting $24 billion from SNAP over the next ten years. The reason for this cut is even more cynical than the cut itself – to save money. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) is proposing these cuts to appease more conservative members of his caucus who refuse to go along with a budget agreement that was agreed to last year. To add insult to injury, the Senate has already indicated that it plans to stick to last year’s budget agreement, which means they are unlikely to even address the issue (and if the cuts somehow did pass Congress, the President would veto them anyway). So why do this? Why threaten hungry people with drastic cuts that only serve to push them deeper into poverty? They think it’s good politics. Members of Congress can say they voted to cut spending on programs they dislike (regardless of how effective they are) during an election year.

But you can do something about it. By generating media holding lawmakers accountable for their actions, you can make sure that they, along with everyone else in your community, know that using domestic hunger as a political football is not good politics.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft your own personalized op-ed about protecting SNAP. Let Congress know that Americans support programs that reduce hunger and poverty. The May Action has a sample op-ed you can use to get started. As RESULTS Houston’s Dave Fleming shared on Saturday’s U.S. Poverty National Webinar, your group can divide up responsibilities for an op-ed among group members and then combine them to create a powerful piece that gets published. Remember to personalize your media piece with new local SNAP data (CBPP) and new local hunger data from Map the Meal Gap (Feeding America). If you don’t have time for an op-ed, write a letter to the editor instead. Contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) if you need help with drafting or editing your media piece.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Start Getting Excited and Preparing for the RESULTS International Conference

If you have not registered for the RESULTS International Conference, it’s not too late. We’re expecting a wonderful four days in DC this year, with amazing speakers, top-notch trainings and briefings, and a powerful Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. Here’s a preview. Tianna Gaines-Turner is a long-time advocate in the fight against hunger and poverty and we are thrilled that she will be speaking at the Conference. As a returning Experts on Poverty Mentor, she will be sharing her story with us as at the “Learning from True Experts: Wisdom from Those with Firsthand Experience of Poverty” plenary at the Conference. And you don’t have to wait until June to learn more about Tianna. She’s featured in the short film, “A Hug From Paul Ryan” which is part of a new series from AMC Networks’ SundanceNow Doc Club. You can also hear more about her life, the documentary, and that hug in an interview with Mike Pesca from Slate’s The Gist podcast

We’ll be having another plenary at the Conference on the racial wealth gap. Federal policy can be a key tool in the movement to end poverty in America. As the income inequality debate has gained traction over the last few years, the conversation often ignores wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap. In this plenary session, we will deepen our understanding of this issue, especially as it informs the national discussion of inequality. Anne Price from the INSIGHT Center in Oakland, CA and Janell Ross, a Washington Post reporter will be our featured speakers. Anne has led the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap initiative at the INSIGHT t Center, elevating the voices and opinions of experts of color in national economic debates and policymaking. Janell has written about race, poverty, unemployment, gentrification, the state of the social safety net, and is writing a book about the racial wealth gap to be published this year.

You won’t want to miss these and other exciting sessions at this year’s Conference. Go to www.resultsconference.org and register today! But getting registered is the just the first step. To help you make the most of your Conference experience, please see the items below that you can start now to prepare for a great time in DC.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to start preparing for the RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28 in Washington, DC. Here are some things you can start doing right now to get ready:

1.Reserve your hotel room. Our discounted block of rooms is open until May 26. After that, we can’t guarantee you’ll get the discounted rate or even a room. Also, if you want to find a roommate to reduce your hotel costs, send an e-mail saying so to [email protected].

2.Read the 2016 RESULTS International Conference Checklist. This is an exhaustive list of things to do to get ready for the Conference. You can find it and other helpful resources on our 2016 RESULTS Conference Resources page.

3.Read the U.S. Poverty Legislative Handbook, which will be available by May 27 on the Conference Resources page.

4.Schedule Your Conference Lobby Prep Call. To help you with scheduling and preparing for your lobby meetings in Washington, RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson does “lobby prep” calls with people coming to DC. She provides detailed coaching on your particular members of Congress and what issues you should highlight. These are very important so plan for each person coming to DC (and others from your group who may want to sit in) to participate in these calls. Please send the dates you and your fellow group members are available to do a lobby prep call to Jos Linn at [email protected]. He will get you scheduled with Meredith.

If you have other questions about the Conference, please contact Jos Linn for assistance.

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Quick News

RESULTS Outreach. On Tuesday, May 24, join LABEST (Louisiana Building Economic Security Together) and RESULTS U.S. Poverty as they present a half-day advocacy workshop in Baton Rouge, LA. The event will be held at Baton Rouge Community College, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm CT. For more information contact Kristy Martino ([email protected]) or RSVP here. For more outreach opportunities and upcoming events, check out our blog post with dates and details.

Vote in the Grassroots Board Election. Last weekend on the RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Webinar, you got to meet our nominees for the upcoming open Grassroots Board position. Tadeo Melan of RESULTS Kansas City (U.S. Poverty), Maxine Thomas of RESULTS Indianapolis (U.S. Poverty), and Charles Wallace of RESULTS Austin (Global Poverty) are running for the position. You can read their candidate bios here. Voting is now open and will run through Tuesday, July 5. All active RESULTS volunteers are eligible to vote. Please vote at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2016GRBMelection.

Nominate A Volunteer for the Bob Dickerson Grassroots Leadership Award. Now is your chance to nominate a RESULTS volunteer who deserves recognition for their leadership, courage, persistence, and commitment. For more than 15 years, Bob Dickerson was an inspiring RESULTS grassroots volunteer leader in Seattle – tireless in his advocacy, unstinting in his encouragement of other activists, and a generous financial supporter of RESULTS' work. Bob proved that an individual can exercise their power as an advocate to create remarkable change in the world. The award goes to two RESULTS volunteers who are following in the footsteps of Bob. They will be honored with this award at the RESULTS International Conference. To nominate a grassroots volunteer, please email your nomination (no more than one page) to  [email protected]‚Äč by June 11. Please include how this volunteer has contributed to achieving the mission of RESULTS, why they are a model for powerful citizen engagement, and why they inspire you.

Join the Road to Rio Fundraising Challenge. Our new Road to Rio Fundraising Challenge is a joint RESULTS U.S. and U.K collaboration in the lead up to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The money raised will help support the advocacy work we are all doing. Get started by setting up your personal friends and family page here:  https://friendraising.donorpro.com/campaigns/322. If you need help setting up a page, please contact Jen DeFranco at [email protected]

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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.

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: May 30 – June 3. Request face-to-face meetings. After your meeting, please tell us how it went by filling out the RESULTS Lobby Report Form: www.tinyurl.com/RESLRF.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, May 17 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. Join online at http://fuze.me/32256018 or by phone at: (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

RESULTS Introductory Call, May 27, at 1:00 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, June 11 at 12:30 pm ET. Join the meeting online at http://fuze.me/32255914; or by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32255914#. Listen to previous webinars on our National Webinars page.

2016 RESULTS International Conference, June 25-28, 2016 in Washington, DC. Register at www.resultsconference.org!

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/.

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