U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 16, 2014
I urge citizens to call or write our members of Congress to oppose new tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations and instead make the EITC and CTC improvements permanent, and work toward a goal of ending poverty in America by 2030.
— RESULTS Spokane volunteer Debbie Detmer in an August 2 letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review
New and Urgent in This Week's Update
- Got Two Minutes? Look at the New Poverty Data and Then Register for Tonight’s Poverty Data Webinar at 8 pm ET
- Got Ten Minutes? Send a Letter to the Editor in Response to Poverty Data Release (September Action)
- Got Twenty Minutes? Reach Out to Editorial Writers This Week with New Poverty Data (September Action)
Latest from Washington, DC
Got Two Minutes? Look at the New Poverty Data and Then Register for Tonight’s Poverty Data Webinar at 8 pm ET
This morning, the U.S. Census released its poverty data for 2013. As expected, the data shows that in 2013, the U.S. poverty rate did not change much compared to 2012. Here are the highlights:
- The U.S. poverty rate was 14.5 percent in 2013, down slightly from 15.0 percent in 2012.
- 45.3 million Americans were living in poverty in 2013. While that’s a drop from the 46.4 million reported in 2012, the Census says that this is not statistically different.
- The child poverty rate in 2013 was 19.9 percent, down from 21.8 percent in 2012. 1.4 million fewer children were in poverty in 2013 (14.6 million) compared to 2012 (16 million).
- Median household income did not change between 2012 and 2013. It was $51,939 in 2013, compared to $51,759 in 2012, and still 8 percent lower than 2007 ($56,436).
The Census also explained the impact of programs we support on the poverty rate:
- EITC: The Earned Income Tax Credit lifted 2.9 million children out of poverty in 2012.
- SNAP: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) lifted 3.7 million people out of poverty in 2013.
What the data really says is the poverty in America is not improving. With poverty remaining essentially stagnant and median income not growing at all (despite higher income Americans seeing significant gains, see chart), we need to do more. This data release is a great “hook” to get media coverage this week (see more below). Use this data to get editorials published in local papers about the importance of the EITC and Child Tax Credit (CTC). To help you, RESULTS is holding a webinar tonight at 8:00 pm ET to go through the Census data to use with editorial writers.
TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to register for the RESULTS Poverty Data webinar tonight, September 16 at 8:00 pm ET. We’ll run through the Census data and show you how you can use the information to get editorials published this month on the EITC and CTC. Register for the webinar TODAY at: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1028550. For audio, dial 201-479-4595, meeting code 25845194.
Note: Some people have had trouble getting Fuze Meeting to work for these webinars. If you do have trouble logging into Fuze, please follow these instructions:
- Click on the link to "re-install" Fuze
- On the page that appears, click on the "Join through your browser" link (if the page disappears before you can click on it, do step 1 again and it will reappear)
- This should connect you to the webinar through your internet browser
Got Ten Minutes? Send a Letter to the Editor in Response to Poverty Data Release (September Action)
This month, RESULTS volunteers are generating editorials about the importance of the EITC and CTC. While you work to convince editorial writers to write pieces on the EITC and CTC using today’s Census data release as a hook, you can enhance those efforts by submitting your own letter to the editor on the issue. Your letter will draw more attention to poverty in America and possibly prompt the paper to do more. As our Santa Fe New Mexican editorial page editor Inez Russell Gomez mentioned on last Saturday’s U.S. Poverty Conference Call that letters and op-ed inform her of what readers care about and can sometimes prompt an editorial.
TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to send a letter to the editor to your local paper urging Congress to protect and expand the EITC and CTC. Use today’s Census data release to highlight the need to do more about helping low-income Americans make ends meet. Here is the sample language for a letter, which you can also send through the RESULTS website:
While many families in our community are struggling and 14.5 percent of Americans live in poverty, many in Congress are pushing costly new tax cuts for the wealthy while ignoring the needs of working families. This latest data shows one in five American children live in poverty, but this summer the House of Representatives passed an expansion of the Child Tax Credit for upper-income families while removing this critical support for millions of low-income children and their families. This comes on top of proposals for nearly $600 billion in new tax breaks for corporations. Meanwhile, improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) for millions of low-income working families are set to expire. If this happens, 12 million Americans, including 7 million children, will fall into poverty or deeper into poverty.
I urge candidates and our current members of Congress to make ending poverty in the U.S. a central part of their platforms, and support specific policies that foster economic mobility by protecting and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit for low-income working families. This latest data reminds us there is more to be done to end poverty in America, and it's time those that represent us make it a priority.
Broaden your media impact by copying this section of the Update and sending it to your local Action Networks. Urge them to also send in letters to the editor about the EITC and CTC. Create a critical mass of media coverage just as Congress heads home to campaign for re-election. In the alternative, you could just forward the e-mail alert RESULTS sent out this morning urging LTEs and editorials (also found on the RESULTS Blog).
Got Twenty Minutes? Reach Out to Editorial Writers This Week with New Poverty Data (September Action)
We want to thank Inez Russell Gomez of the Santa Fe New Mexican for speaking on the September RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call last Saturday. She gave us great insights in how best to reach out to local editors and writers this month about the EITC and CTC. She told to remember that the newspaper staff is very busy, especially now as they prepare endorsements for the upcoming election, so the easier you make it for them to write something, the better. This includes providing them research on the EITC and CTC and being as concise as possible when contact them. She also reminded us that it is very important to make the issue local, i.e. show how it impacts people in your state or local area. Finally, she said that if you already have a relationship with a writer or someone at the paper, leverage those connections when asking for an editorial; they can go a long way. We thank Ms. Gomez for her time and advice on the call. If you were not on the call, we encourage you to listen to the recording of the call on the RESULTS website; she provides a wealth of information you’ll find very useful.
To help you with your media outreach this month, we have a number of resources to help you.
- September Action. Find helpful tips and advice for reaching out to editorial writers about the EITC and CTC in the RESULTS September 2014 U.S. Poverty Action.
- Editorial Memo. As Inez Russell Gomez mentioned on Saturday’s conference call, contact editors and writers via e-mail first with a concise, powerful overview of EITC and CTC actions we’re pushing. RESULTS has an Editorial Memo ready to go that accomplishes that. Download a copy and attach it to your e-mail. (see sample e-mail text below)
- Media Training Webinar. On September 8, RESULTS held a media training to help with your outreach to editorial writers. It contains very helpful information for taking action this month. Listen to the recording of the webinar on the RESULTS website or on YouTube.
- RESULTS Census Data Webinar. Join us tonight at 8:00 pm ET to learn details about the 2013 Census data that was released this morning. You’ll want to use this data in your editorial outreach. Register for the webinar TODAY at: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1028550. For audio, dial 201-479-4595, meeting code 25845194.
- Sample Conversation with Editorial Writer. On last Saturday’s National Conference Call, RESULTS Columbus volunteer Ginnie Vogts role-played pitching an editorial to a local writer. You can see the conversation on our September Laser Talk page and also hear it on the conference call recording.
- Local Data: Find local poverty data at Talkpoverty.org (they’ll update their current stats later this week) and state data on the EITC and CTC from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Later this week, the American Community Survey will release additional state and local poverty data.
TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to reach out to an editorial writer (or writers) urging him/her to write a piece on the new Census poverty data and the EITC and CTC. Start by sending them an e-mail with the RESULTS EITC/CTC Editorial Memo attached. Copy and paste the e-mail below (be sure to personalize it!) and send it to the editorial page editor or a particular editorial writer at your local paper:
Dear [writer/editor’s name],
I was interested to read Friday’s editorial on tax extenders. Thanks for reminding readers that what Congress does affects us all. Congress has also failed to act on another tax issue – and the wellbeing of thousands of hardworking Oregonians is at stake.
Important provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit – one of the country’s most effective anti-poverty strategies – are set to expire soon. Together with the Child Tax Credit, it helped lift more than 10 million working Americans out of poverty in 2012. The Credits have broad bipartisan support, but Congress is failing to act. More information attached is here.
As you may know, the Census Bureau has released its new data on poverty in the United States. It shows that while the poverty rate dipped slightly between 2012 and 2013 (from 15.0 percent to 14.5 percent), we’re not doing enough. When over 45 million Americans still living in poverty, we must do more.
I am a volunteer with RESULTS, a grassroots advocacy group working to end poverty. I’d love to see the Oregonian use the Census release to highlight the struggles working Americans face and call for action on the programs we know work – like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
And with elections approaching, I hope you might consider these policies in your candidate endorsements. I can plan to follow up with you in a few days. Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to working with you.
[your name and contact info]
After sending the e-mail with attached memo, follow up with the writer this week with the 2013 poverty data from the U.S. Census. Urge them to write an editorial highlighting the new poverty data and urging Congress to do more for low-income families by protecting and expanding the EITC and CTC. For an example of what one of these conversations might look like, see our September Laser Talk. If you have questions about doing your media outreach, please don’t hesitate to contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help.
We sincerely thank Inez Russell Gomez for speaking on this month’s U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. You can listen to a recording of the call, as well as download the slides and summary of the call, on our National Conference Calls page.
Another thing the new poverty data reminds us is that we need more people speaking up about poverty in America. RESULTS continues to work to expand our reach and impact with new people in new areas. Here are some upcoming RESULTS outreach events . If you know anyone in these areas, please invite them to attend or connect them with the designated RESULTS staff person or volunteer.
September 23 in Tucson, Arizona. U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson is working to start a new group in Tucson. She is holding a RESULTS outreach meeting on September 23 at 6:30pm MT at Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea. If you know anyone in Arizona, please contact Myrdin at [email protected]. See the Tucson Facebook Event page for more details.
September 23 in Auburn, AL. U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino is working with students at Auburn University to start a new group on September 23. If you know anyone in the Auburn area, please contact Kristy at [email protected].
September 25 in Birmingham, AL. Kristy is also working with local advocates in Birmingham to start a new group on September 25 at 6:30 pm CT. If you know anyone in the Birmingham area, please contact Kristy at [email protected]. See more about the event at our Birmingham Facebook Event page.
October 20 in St. Louis, MO. Jos Linn is working with REAL Change Fellows in St. Louis to strengthen the local group there. They will be having an outreach meeting on Monday, October 20 at 7:15pm CT at Schlafly Bottleworks. If you know anyone in St. Louis, please contact Jos ([email protected]). See our St. Louis Outreach Facebook page for details.
RESULTS is also working to start or build groups in Detroit, Louisville, and Dayton, among other places. If you know anyone in these or other areas, please contact Meredith Dodson at [email protected]. Also, if you’d like to get support for expanding RESULTS in your area, join our Expansion Team for “Growing RESULTS” support call on September 24 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. Contact Meredith if you have any questions about the call.
Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings for Upcoming Recess. Congress will again be on recess at the end of this month and during October. If you did not have the chance to meet with your members of Congress in July or August, please put in your request for a meeting. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to get coaching for your meeting. And once you’ve had your meeting, please remember to fill out our online Lobby Report form at: http://tinyurl.com/LobbyReportForm.
Nuns on the Bus Tour Begins This Week. Following up on their successful road trip a few years ago, the "Nuns on the Bus" are traveling across the country this fall to bring attention to the importance of voting as an antidote to big money in politics. They will be holding public events in ten states over the next two months. See a list of their stops at the NETWORK website. If they are traveling to your area, plan to attend and share the link with others.
Keep Track of Minimum Wage Campaigns. RESULTS strongly supports raising the minimum wage. If you’d like to keep track of the national debate around the raising the minimum wage, as well as state campaigns to do the same, check out the Raise the Minimum Wage website sponsored by our friends at the National Employment Law Project.
For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.
Have you seen our new and improved Friends and Family pages? If you haven't yet taken a minute to view the pages, check them out today. They are easier than ever to set up for events like birthdays, anniversaries, and milestone events through our Celebrations campaign. And we already have pages established for our Virtual Thanksgiving Feast ready for teams or individuals start using today. Taking on a physical challenge soon? Why not fundraise for RESULTS while you do it? We have our Race to End Poverty page already set up for you to make every mile matter!
Maybe your group is hosting an event soon? Run your online donation campaign in conjunction with your event to include out of town friends and family in your event virtually. The development team is ready and available to help set up pages for groups/teams/individuals. Just let us know! Contact Jen DeFranco at [email protected] to get your page started today!
Join Call on Building and Maintaining Your Action Network. Have people stopped into one of your RESULTS meetings and you're not sure how to engage them? Did you host a table at a RESULTS-related event and now you have a sign-in sheet full of names? Are you an Action Network Manager in your group? Cultivating folks who have shown interest in RESULTS and your group is time well spent. On this half-hour call, get some quick tips on how to engage these visitors to become more deeply enrolled in the work of RESULTS! The call is this Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)
Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House: September 22-26, October 6 – November 7; Senate: Unknown. Request face-to-face meetings.
Tuesday, September 16: RESULTS Poverty Data Webinar, 8:00 pm ET. This webinar will review the data from the U.S. Census on poverty in 2013. Register for the webinar here: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1028550. For audio, dial 201-479-4595, meeting code 25845194.
Thursday, September 18: Training call for Building and Maintaining Your Action Network, 1:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
Wednesday, September 24: Growing RESULTS Support Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.
Wednesday, October 1: Pre-Election Bird-Dogging: Getting Poverty Issues on the Radar, 9 pm ET. Webinar info: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/webinar/register/1029466. To join via conference call, dial (201) 479-4535, passcode 25949862.
Tuesday, October 21: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.
Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 1101 15th St NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20005. 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, x.116, [email protected].
- Jos Linn, Grassroots Manager, U.S. Poverty Campaigns, (515) 288-3622, [email protected]
- Myrdin Thompson, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (502) 295-1315, [email protected]
- Kristy Martino, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Organizer, (603) 531-7486, [email protected]
- Ann Beltran, U.S. Poverty Volunteer Lobbyist, [email protected]
- Jen DeFranco, Grassroots Development Associate, [email protected]
The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Update is sent out every Tuesday via email 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 U.S. poverty campaigns.
 2013 data not yet available.