U.S. Poverty Weekly Update May 22, 2012
In societies that have true prosperity, the rich don’t get richer; everyone gets richer.
— from The Gardens of Democracy by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
New and Urgent in This Week’s Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)
- Got Two Minutes? Send an LTE Telling Congress to Protect Low-income Children and Families (May Action)
- Got Ten Minutes? Plan to Attend Town Halls and Put Child Care on the Map
- Got Twenty Minutes? Register and Start Preparing for the RESULTS International Conference
Latest from Washington, DC
- RESULTS Outreach: Attend and Invite Others to MA Meetings this Week
- Senate Rejects Radical Budget Proposals — Use Recent Budget Votes to Request Editorials
- Quick News
Got Two Minutes? Send an LTE Telling Congress to Protect Low-income Children and Families (May Action)
With the House on recess this week and the Senate next week, this is great time to get letters to the editor published urging members of Congress to protect safety net programs from reckless budget cuts. Published letters will get their attention and may even spawn questions at public events they are holding in their districts the next two weeks (see below). Members of Congress need to know that Americans reject using massive cuts to SNAP, child care, the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and other anti-poverty services to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. These cuts are wrong for children and families and are wrong for America.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send a letter to the editor using our quick and easy online media alert. Tell lawmakers asking low-income families to sacrifice food on the table to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy is immoral and wrong. Be sure to personalize your letter by sharing your own story and by calling your House and Senate members by name in your letter. See the May Action for more details and talking points to help with your letters.
Members of the House are on recess this week. Senators will be home next week. These recesses are great opportunities to meet and talk with members of Congress about our legislative priorities. Many legislators will be holding town hall events this month, which also provides the opportunity to talk with them about our requests and have them take a public position on them. Contact their local offices to find out of they are holding any events these next two weeks.
In addition, RESULTS, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Early Care and Education Consortium have launched a new long-term campaign to “Put Child Care on the Map”. Access to quality early childhood development programs is central to any effort in order to break the cycle of poverty. We need you to help members of Congress understand the importance of child care and why we need their support.
With senators, this is an opportune time to talk to them about early childhood development. The Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee is expected to release and review their FY 2013 Labor-HHS bill in the next few weeks. Urging senators to talk to Labor-HHS subcommittee members about the importance of Head Start, Early Head Start, and child care can go along way in securing necessary funding for these services in the Labor-HHS bill ($325 million increase for Head Start and Early Head Start, $825 million increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant).
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to Put Child Care on the Map by attending a town hall meeting or candidate appearance and ask a question about child care when they’re talking about jobs or education or families. See these tips online and here is a short “laser talk” that you can adapt to ask a question in this setting.
You can also help Put Child Care on the Map by:
- Scheduling a face-to-face meeting in the district office with the legislator or staff person – bring a parent, a child care provider, or a local employer/business leader to the meeting. Click here to see tips on organizing a great meeting, our template for requesting a meeting, and you can look up the district office phone number and address online. 97 percent of Congressional aides say this can influence a representative’s/senator’s decision.
- Hosting your Member of Congress to visit a local child care program. Here’s a toolkit with easy steps.
- Writing a letter to the editor of the local paper using our online alert, and see our Activist Toolkit pieces on writing a letter to the editor and generating an op-ed for tips.
- Organizing an effort to send local parents to work wearing “I’m at work because I have child care” stickers – take pictures and alert the media. Here’s a template made with standard labels!
- Hosting an early childhood conference or training this year? Set up a table for conference attendees to “take action” – using a computer to email Members of Congress using our alert or have people hand-write letters with our action sheet (Word).
Our child care campaign is a long-term effort so if you are not able to meet or speak with members of Congress on this recess, please request a meeting for the next time your representatives and senators are home.
Two months from today we will be in Day Two of the RESULTS International Conference. Just to give you an idea of the exciting this that will be going during those exciting four days, let’s look at some of the exciting speakers who will be joining us.
Barbara Ehrenreich is an award-winning columnist and essayist who has also written over 21 books, including Nickled and Dimed. Ms. Ehrenreich has recently helped launch the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which will work with unemployed or underemployed journalists to produce original material on this country’s crisis of poverty and economic insecurity. She will be speaking at a session about tax credits for working families.
Jo Comerford is Executive Director of the National Priorities Project and a frequent media contributor with pieces appearing in outlets such as The Nation, TomDispatch, The Huffington Post, Salon.com, Mother Jones and Dollars and Sense. She will be speaking about what’s at stake for low-income Americans in deficit reduction.
Dean Baker is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He is frequently cited in economics reporting in major media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, and National Public Radio. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian Unlimited (UK), the Huffington Post, TruthOut, and his blog, Beat the Press, features commentary on economic reporting. He will be speaking about tax policy and its relationship to the wealth gap.
Margot Friedman is the principal of Dupont Circle Communications, an eight-year-old, full-service communications firm specializing in writing and placing opinion editorials for nonprofit organizations. Margot previously served as Vice President for Communications at National Women’s Law Center and has written for leading figures including Vice President Al Gore, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She will be sharing her knowledge and experience with you in a session about writing and placing op-eds in the media.
TAKE ACTION: If you have not registered for the RESULTS International Conference, REGISTER TODAY. We are already more then two-thirds toward our goal of 400 participants! Add your name to the list today before conference registration rates go up on June 15. For those of you planning to attend the conference, please:
- Schedule Your Lobby Day Meetings. Start setting up your face-to-face meetings for the conference Lobby Day on Tuesday, July 24. Once you get your meetings scheduled, please let us know by filling out our online Lobby Day meeting form.
- Invite Legislators to the Lobby Day Reception. Invite your members of Congress to our spectacular conference reception on July 24. We have customizable letters you can use to send your invitations. Get on their schedules now by submitting your invitations this week.
- RESULTS Blog Post Can Help You Save. Check out this RESULTS Blog Post on money-saving tips for the conference.
RESULTS new Grassroots Organizer for New England Jenny Martin and Director of Domestic Campaigns Meredith Dodson are hosting several outreach and advocacy events in Northampton, MA and at Brandeis University this week. Jenny and Meredith will talk about grassroots advocacy, share the latest news on the federal budget process and our priorities, and discuss actions people can take to make a difference on these issues. If you or people you know live in these areas, please plan to join us for these fun, informal, and inspiring meetings (we’ll even have snacks!) Below are the details of each event:
RESULTS Northampton Meeting, Wednesday, May 23, 5:30 pm ET
Pot Pourri Plaza, Second Floor conference rooms #234-236, 243 King Street, Northampton, MA
RESULTS Brandeis Meeting, Thursday, May 24, 10:00 am ET
The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Heller Room G1, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA (campus map)
For more information, please contact Jenny at [email protected]. If you know of others in New England who might be interested in RESULTS, please contact Jenny so she can connect with them.
RESULTS is also looking to expand in Montana, San Antonio, and Kansas City. If you know others in these or other areas around the country, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Last week, the Senate voted on several budget proposals similar to (and in some cases, worse than) the House Republican Budget. Fortunately, as expected, all of the proposals were rejected. For an overview of what these proposals would do, see this Huffington Post op-ed from Debbie Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs.
These votes, as well as the recent House reconciliation bill vote, are great “hooks” for our media action this month. For those of you wanting to take your media advocacy to the next level, we have a new tool you can use for greater impact. We have developed an editorial packet you can send to editorial writers at your local paper urging them to write editorials opposing these efforts to balance the budget on the backs of people in poverty. This particular packet highlights the recent efforts to cut the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Recent bills passed by the House would cut SNAP benefits for all 46 million monthly recipients, deny nearly 300,000 children access to school breakfast and lunch services, and force 2 million people out of SNAP completely. All this so that they can preserve tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations. Having local papers take a strong public position on the editorial page urging Congress to reject these draconian cuts as wrong for America will help us ensure that these proposals never go any farther.
You can download the editorial packet on the RESULTS website. Also, please see our Activist Toolkit for help in pitching an editorial to local papers. Finally, please contact the RESULTS Domestic Staff for any help you in preparing to speak to an editorial writer or editorial board.
Join NPP “Federal Budget 101” Webinar Tomorrow. Our friends at the National Priorities Project (Jo Comerford of NPP will be speaking at this year’s RESULTS International Conference!) are hosting a Federal Budget 101 webinar. This 40-minute presentation will provide an overview of the budget, strengthen participants’ understanding of the community-level impact of the federal budget, and show how regular people can have a voice in the budgeting process. The next presentation is tomorrow May 23 at 3:00 pm ET (NPP is repeating the webinar on June 5, July 18, and August 28). You can register at the NPP website. NPP also has a new book out “The People’s Guide to the Federal Budget”, with a forward by Barbara Ehrenreich, who will also be speaking at this year’s conference.
Asset Building and the Wealth Gap. It’s no secret to RESULTS volunteers that fighting poverty is about both alleviating immediate hardship and about creating meaningful opportunities for families to move up the economic ladder. This includes maximizing opportunities for low income families to build savings and assets. This week on the RESULTS blog, RESULTS Emerson Hunger Fellow Allison Burket reflects on her introduction to this field of “asset building” and the Saver’s Bonus, and shares some stunning takeaways from a recent conference hosted by the New America Foundation.
RESULTS Attends Senate “Paid Leave” Hearing. The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on May 10 attended by RESULTS Emerson Hunger Fellow Tavia Benjamin. The hearing, entitled “Beyond Mother’s Day: Helping the Middle Class Balance Work and Family”, spoke about aspects of the Rebuild America Act, introduced by HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), legislation focused on rebuilding America’s middle class and providing opportunities for social mobility for low-income families. The hearing mainly focused on paid leave, an issue that disproportionately affects working women. Particularly touching was the testimony of Kimberly Ortiz, a retail worker at the Statue of Liberty and mother of two young sons with special needs, who spoke about the difficulties she faces balancing her low-wage job with its limited work schedule flexibility and the needs of her children. To view the hearing and read the testimonies, go to the Senate HELP Committee’s website and be on the lookout for Tavia’s RESULTS Blog Post with more details about the hearing.
The “Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday” campaign provides not only a great media hook, but it’s also a wonderful theme for a fundraiser. Who doesn’t love a kid’s birthday theme with balloons, candles, and wishes? RESULTS Houston will be using this theme for a big blowout birthday party later this year that hundreds will attend. However, you can also use this to hold a small but powerful house party, too. It helps you have fun in this important while also connecting your donors with the reasons we do our work. It’s also a way to invite your local press to do story about your event. Contact RESULTS Grassroots Fundraising Associate Cindy Levin ([email protected]) to talk about how to bring this fundraising idea to life for your group.
Trying to get everyone in your group to the International Conference? Check out our blog of money-saving and fundraising tips to for discounts, scholarships, and guidance on what kind of fundraisers could help you on your way.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House recess, May 19 – 29. Senate recess, May 28 – June 1. Request face-to-face meetings!
Monday, May 21: RESULTS Free Agents group (Global Poverty) call, 8:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information about the global poverty group, contact Lisa Marchal at [email protected].
Monday, May 21: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. To RSVP, contact Lisa Marchal. To call in, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. This is the second call in the series (you don’t need to have been on the first call to participate).
Monday, May 28: Memorial Day. All RESULTS office closed (offices will close at noon ET on Friday, May 25).
Wednesday, June 6: RESULTS Introductory Call. 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.
Saturday, June 9: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.
Friday, June 15: Last day to register for the RESULTS International Conference at the regular conference rate ($225). Fee increases to $300 after June 15.
Tuesday, June 19: RESULTS Free Agents group (U.S. Poverty) call, 9:00 pm ET. (218) 486-1611, passcode RESULTS# (7378587#). For more information, contact Jos Linn at [email protected].
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 783-2818, 1730 Rhode Island Ave, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. If mailing a donation to our DC office, please address the envelope to the attention of Cynthia Stancil.
RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative and Grassroots Support Staff:
- Meredith Dodson, Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (202) 783-7100, x116, [email protected]
- Jos Linn, Senior Associate, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Jenny Martin, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, New England, (413) 774-1707, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Tavia Benjamin, 2012 Emerson Hunger Fellow, [email protected]
- Allison Burkett, 2012 Emerson Hunger Fellow, [email protected]
- Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Development Associate, (773) 236-7758, [email protected]results.org
The RESULTS Domestic Update is sent out every Tuesday via e-mail to RESULTS volunteers and allies all over the country. The purpose of these updates is to inform and activate RESULTS activists to take action on our domestic campaigns.