U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 27, 2016

September 27, 2016

U.S. Poverty Campaigns

Weekly Update | September 27, 2016

“We need to make sure that our new president, along with Congress, will take action to ensure that hardworking Americans are not taxed into poverty.”

– RESULTS Expert on Poverty Pamela Covington in a September 24 letter to the editor in the Hampton (VA) Daily Press

In This Week’s Update:

Quick Action: Generate Media about Ending Poverty in America

Take Action!

Got Two Minutes? Tweak and Resend that Letter to the Editor (September Action)

Have you recently submitted a letter to the editor about the 2015 U..S. Census poverty data? If so, are you still waiting for it to get published? If it’s been a while and your letter has not shown up, why not tweak it and re-submit it? Take your original letter (or use our online version) and find a way to update it. If you focused on the poverty data originally, maybe talk about the election and use the data as an illustration that candidates need to take poverty seriously. Did you focus on how the EITC would help childless workers last time? Maybe talk about the how an EITC expansion would help younger workers this time.

The key to success in media advocacy is persistence. If one letter doesn’t get published, try another one. And another one. And another one. The more you try, the more likely you’ll find success.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to tweak an unpublished letter to the editor and resubmit it to your local paper (or another media outlet). If you need help, use the September Action or our updated online alert to get started. Be sure to “make it local” by using local poverty data (go to the ACS American Fact Finder website, click on the “Guided Search” link) and/or state EITC data from the Center in Budget and Policy Priorities. If you need help, please contact Jos Linn for assistance ([email protected]).

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Got Ten Minutes? Check In with your Local Volunteers on their Media Actions (September Action)

This time of year is very busy, media-wise. With the election looming, it’s tough to get media published that’s not talking about that topic. That’s why it’s important that you be vigilant in your media outreach this month. The more letters and op-eds about poverty your local newspaper receives, the better chance they will publish at least one or more of them. Encouragement is a key component in making this happen. One of the great advantages of volunteers like you bring to this work is the support you provide each other. RESULTS’ success over the years is a direct result of you coaching and cheering your fellow advocates into action. This month, we want to make sure your media gets through all the noise surrounding the election. You can do this by urging and supporting your fellow volunteers to take action and also letting us know what actions you’ve taken.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to reach out to members of your local RESULTS group (or other volunteers you’re in contact with) to check in about their media work this month. Send an e-mail or give them a call asking how the letter-writing is going. Do they need help with finding a hook? Do they need someone to look over their work? Do they have questions about submitting their LTEs or op-eds? Have they been published? A kind and supportive word can go a long way and empower people to take action when they hadn’t planned to.

In addition, please keep your group leader informed about how many letters and op-eds your group has submitted. Group leaders should then forward that information to their Regional Coordinators or Jos Linn ([email protected]). This will give us an idea of our success rate (submissions v. published media) to better support you in this and future media actions.

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Got Twenty Minutes? Submitted Your LTE? Now Try for an Op-ed (September Action)

Each time we do a media action for the month, we urge you to try submitting an op-ed. And while we are grateful to those of you who do, the truth is that most of you don’t do it. Most of you have plenty to say on the issue of poverty and you are certainly passionate about the issue (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this). So the question is… why not?

  1. I can’t write something that long. It’s true – op-eds require more content. A letter to the editor is at most 250 words, where an op-ed is 600-700 words. But you have more content in you than you think. The best way to begin an op-ed is to start writing. Start like you’re writing an LTE and then as ideas come in, put them in. You’ll find yourself filling up the page quicker than you think. Plus, with all the new poverty data out this month, there are plenty of stats to fill space.
  2. I don’t know what to say. That’s a good argument too. However, do you want to see an end to poverty in America? Do you know programs that help us get there (EITC, SNAP)? Do you have a story about poverty in your life or the life of someone you know? A “yes” to any of these means that you already know what to say. Plus, if you’re really stumped, RESULTS has a sample op-ed you can use.
  3. I’m not an expert. Maybe not officially, but you know far more than you might think. Ever been in a lobby meeting where members of Congress and their staff had no clue what you were talking about? There you go – expert. But even if you are new, no one says you have to be an expert to write an op-ed. If you do your homework and write like you know what you’re talking about, that’s enough.
  4. I don’t have time. Op-eds do take time, at least more time than writing an LTE and certainly more time than doing nothing. But it doesn’t take days and weeks to do it either. In the amount of time you spend watching the REAL Housewives or Fixer Upper or Scandal, you can bang out a great op-ed draft. And, dare we say, in the time it takes to watch a football or baseball game, you could have an op-ed researched, written, and edited. Start with an hour and just start writing and pretty soon, you won’t be losing time but making it.
  5. I’ll put in all this work and it won’t get printed. That’s true – there are no guarantees in media work. But RESULTS staff (as will your fellow advocates) can help. We can look your piece over to give you feedback. We can advise you on the best way to submit it. We will do all we can to support you in getting it printed. And if they still don’t print it, just re-submit it somewhere else, edit it down to an LTE, or save it for later and try again.

As hockey great Wayne Gretsky said, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Why not take your shot today and go for that amazing op-ed inside you begging to come out.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take the September Action by submitting an op-ed today. Use the election, the new poverty data, a current event, or whatever inspires you as a hook to sit down and write a powerful piece about ending poverty in America. Use our sample op-ed if you get stumped and also see the Activist Toolkit for op-ed tips. If you need help, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) for assistance.

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Staff and Volunteers Are Spreading the Word about RESULTS

Three of our incredible Experts on Poverty will be speaking, sharing their stories and skills across the country next month. Maxine Thomas of RESULTS Indianapolis will be presenting "The Experts Among You" at the Hunger Free Communities Summit on Thursday, October 6 in Indianapolis. Qiana Torregano of RESULTS New Orleans will be presenting "Wisdom from the True Experts" at the National Black Child Development Institute on Sunday, October 2 in Orlando, FL. Asia Bijan Thompson, one of our newest Experts from Dallas, PA will be presenting "Transforming Practice & Inspiring RDs to Counsel Food Insecure Clients" at the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo on Monday, October 17 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Experts are a true inspiration and we are thrilled that they get to share their sobering and uplifting experiences with others in their communities and beyond.

Also, the RESULTS Raleigh, NC chapter will be hosting an Advocacy and Social Issues Happy Hour and Trivia event on Thursday, October 6 at World of Beer in Cary, NC from 6:30 – 8:30 pm ET. If you or someone you know would like to attend, RSVP via Facebook or the RESULTS NC website

In addition, U.S. Poverty Grassroots Manager Jos Linn will be traveling to Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC on October 17 to speak to students and do an outreach event on campus. Our Wofford group is our longest-standing college campus RESULTS U.S. Poverty group. If you know people in the Spartanburg/Greenville area, invite them to attend. Contact Jos for more details.

RESULTS Director of U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson will be speaking at the CFED Assets and Learning Conference in Washington, D.C. this week, moderating a Communications session Friday and attending a number of sessions on the racial wealth gap. Follow along at https://www.twitter.com/hashtag/ALC2016?src=hash and https://www.twitter.com/dodsonadvocate.

Finally, remember that RESULTS holds bi-monthly RESULTS Introductory Calls for potential new advocates. These 30-45 minutes calls provide an overview of our work and how to get involved. Every person who is interested in learning more after the call gets a personal follow-up from RESULTS staff. Our next call is this Friday, September 30 at 1:00 pm ET. Think of the people you know who would benefit from being involved with RESULTS and invite them to attend a RESULTS Intro Call. Send them this link where they can register for an upcoming call: https://results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.

Quick News

Register to Vote! Today is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote in this year’s election? If not, please register today and make sure to cast your ballot on November 8.

Help Stop the Debt Trap. As many of you know, predatory lending can be a key driver of the racial wealth gap. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now accepting comments from the public on their proposed changes to the laws that govern payday, car title, and certain high-cost installment loans. The proposed rule would require lenders to determine whether borrowers can afford to pay back their loans, known as the ability-to-repay requirement. Submit a comment to the CFPB today telling them to do all they can to stop the unfair, abusive, and deceptive practices of payday and car title lenders. To learn more, join Sen. Elizabeth Warren tonight, September 27 at 8:00 pm ET for a conference call on how you can help stop the debt trap (RSVP here). Learn more about the debt trap from our friends at the Coalition on Human Needs.

Look for Lobby Meetings and Town Halls in October. Congress is working to avoid a government shutdown on Friday night by passing budget extension that would keep the government open until mid-December. Assuming they get it done, they’ll then go on recess until after the election. Use that time to meet with them face-to-face and attend town halls. Use our online alert to request a meeting and find scheduler contact information on our Elected Officials page.

Save the Date for the 2017 RESULTS International Conference! Join us for the 2017 RESULTS International Conference on July 22 – 25, 2017 at the Washington Court Hotel in Washington, DC. Please mark your calendars. We’ll have more details and registration information soon.

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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: Monday, October 3 – Friday, November 11; Senate: Monday, October 10 – Friday, November 11. 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 Introductory Call, Friday, September 30 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, Saturday, October 8 at 12:30 pm ET. Join 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.

RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, Tuesday, October 18 at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET. To participate, login in at http://fuze.me/32256018 or dial by phone at (201) 479-4595, Meeting ID: 32256018#.

Election Day, November 8. Be sure to register to vote!

RESULTS International Conference, Saturday, July 22 – Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC. More details soon.

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 download RESULTS’ most recent Annual Report at: https://results.org/about/annual_report/.

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