U.S. Poverty Weekly Update August 12, 2014

I urge 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 Indianapolis volunteer Sharvonne Williams in an August 9 letter to the editor in the Indianapolis Star

New and Urgent in This Week's Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Call Schedulers about August Town Hall Meetings (August Action)

This month, in addition to pushing for continued face-to-face meetings with members of Congress, RESULTS volunteers are attending town hall meetings with members of Congress and congressional candidates to talk about expanding economic mobility in America. As noted on last Saturday’s U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, town halls are a great way to get officials on the record and educate your community about your issue.

While there are numerous ways to find out about town halls (official websites, newspaper, etc.), the easiest way to see when and where a town hall is being held is to call the office of the member of Congress of candidate and ask. Make the most of the August recess by finding out about and attending town hall events in your area.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to call the scheduler(s) for your members of Congress and congressional candidates to find out about town hall meetings in your area this month. The RESULTS Elected Officials page has contact information for both the local and DC offices of your members of Congress. For candidates, you can usually find contact information on their campaign websites. See the August Action for more information about how to find out about town halls, how to prepare, and what to do once you get there. Also, when you know you plan to attend a town hall, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) in the RESULTS office to help you get ready.


Got Ten Minutes? Prep Your “EPIC Laser Talk” for your Upcoming Town Hall Meetings (August Action)

RESULTS greatly appreciates Tom LaPointe, former legislator and staff person at Every Child Matters in Iowa for being our guest speaker on the August 2014 U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. Tom has a great deal of experience and he provided us some great insights as to making the most of town halls and public events. He told us several stories of how he and other advocates used public events and leaders in the community to leverage influence with members of Congress and candidates. For example, he told us how he helped coordinate a 2007 event to have religious leaders meet with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to talk about hunger in Iowa and to push for increases in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in the 2007 Farm Bill. It is taking advantage of the opportunities these events present that help you move our agenda forward and push lawmakers into action.

The conference call also included a training section by U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino, which included very helpful tips for preparing for town halls. One of most important aspects of your town hall preparation is deciding on a question to ask. RESULTS has the perfect tool to help you – the EPIC Laser Talk. Most of your know the components – Engage the listener; state the Problem; Inform about the solution; make a strong, specific Call to Action – which is the ideal format for a town hall, where you want to be informative and brief. Here is an example of a town hall question for House members:

Economic insecurity is a reality for far too many low-income families in today’s America. Fortunately, there are tools at our disposal that can help. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit provide vital financial resources to families with children; in 2012 alone, they lifted nearly 10 million people out of poverty. But important improvements to the EITC and CTC are set to expire in 2017, which would force children and families into deeper financial distress. In addition, low-income workers without children receive a very small EITC (less than $500 maximum), which makes it harder and harder for them to get out of poverty. Will you speak with House leaders and urge them to protect and strengthen progressivity in the tax code by making expiring EITC and CTC provisions permanent and increasing the EITC for workers without children? Also, will agree to co-sponsor H.R. 769 (House CTC legislation) and H.R. 2116 (House EITC legislation)? 

This kind of question educates the official and the people in the room about the issue, provides supportive data, and makes a clear, specific request. Even if you don’t get the answer you want, the simple act of asking the question does a great deal. It makes everyone aware of the issue, it tells the official that voters care about poverty, and it gives you an opening to follow up. In other words, asking a question at a town hall creates political will.

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to draft your EPIC Laser Talk for upcoming town halls you can also use the Laser Talk to prepare for your sit-down meetings this month). As we are still focusing on expanding economic mobility in America, draft your questions (unless otherwise coached) on the EITC, CTC, and Financial Security Credit. If you are not sure what to say, use our Sample Town Hall Questions to get you started. Remember that the more personal you can make your questions, the better. A personal story illustrating the problem and/or solution is going to be best, hopefully mixed in with state or local statistics on the issue. The August Action has lots of information to help you prepare for your town hall meetings. If you need help preparing questions for a town hall meeting, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help.

Once you do get a question written, practice it over and over. Town halls can be exhilarating and intimidating experiences so the more you know your issue beforehand, the better you’ll be at asking it at the event. Also, if you go in a group, have everyone bring their own question, even if it is on the same topic to increase your chance of the topic getting covered. For additional information to help you prepare for town halls this month, listen to the recording of last weekend’s conference call and read the slides and summary from the call on our National Conference Calls page. We again thank Tom LaPointe for taking time to speak with us on Saturday and look forward to the next time when he can share his wisdom and experience with us.


Got Twenty Minutes? Schedule Your Lobby Prep Call (July Action and August Action)

As you work to schedule face-to-face meetings and attend town halls this month, please remember that you have help in getting ready for these events. RESULTS staff is at the ready to prep you and your group on what to discuss in your meetings. These prep calls are important because they give you update information about our issues and your particular members of Congress. It also gives us the chance to track these meetings (and the follow-up) as we work to reach our goal of meeting with all House members and one-third of senators this year. These prep calls go for both sit-down meetings and town hall appearances. We are also here to help with meetings with local aides. Please help us help you have powerful meetings this month by scheduling a lobby prep call with RESULTS staff.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to schedule and do a lobby prep call with RESULTS staff. If you have a lobby meeting coming up this month, whether it is a sit-down meeting or town call, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) to schedule a call with you and your group. Make sure as many people in your group as possible can participate in the call, especially the people attending the meeting. Also, as you prepare for your lobby meetings – or if you are following up from a recent meetings – here are specific actions you can ask of your members of Congress and their staff:

  1. Have they spoken to House/Senate tax leaders about:
    • Making the 2009 Earned Income Tax Credit (ETIC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) improvements permanent in tax reform legislation?
    • Expanding the EITC for workers without children in the home in tax reform legislation?
    • Including the Financial Security Credit (FSC) in tax reform legislation?
  2. Have they co-sponsored:

Remember to also check out the materials on our RESULTS Conference Lobby Resources page to help in your lobby meetings, including our Economic Mobility Lobby Request Sheet (which you want to take with you to give them).


Join RESULTS Intro Call Tomorrow, Free Agents Calls Next Week

If you or someone you know is new to RESULTS, invite them to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls provide a good overview of RESULTS and how you and others can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is tomorrow, August 13 at 9:00 pm ET. To register for this or another upcoming Intro Call, go to: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Also, the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be meeting next Tuesday, August 19 at 1:00pm at 9:00 pm ET for their monthly support calls. On this month’s call, we’ll celebrate recent successes you’ve had, update you on legislative actions since our July call, and discuss what actions you can take the rest of this month. If you live in an area with no RESULTS U.S. Poverty group, would like to connect with other volunteers, and get trained and supported in taking action on our issues, please join us. To participate in one of the calls, dial (857) 232-0476 and enter passcode 703096.


Join “Reclaiming Our Democracy” Book Discussion with RESULTS Founder Sam Daley-Harris Starting Tomorrow

Beginning tomorrow, RESULTS founder Sam Daley-Harris will be hosting a three-week book discussion of Reclaiming Our Democracy, his book about the founding of RESULTS which is celebrating the 20th Aniversary of its release. Sam is a great speaker and always prompts interesting and lively discussions. If you’re ready to be inspired (or re-inspired) about your work with RESULTS, join Sam’s book discussion next week. The series will be held August 13, 20, and 27 at 9:00 pm ET. We hope you can come to the entire series, but don't hesitate to attend any one of the sessions. To participate in the series, sign up here.


Learn How to Advocate Using Twitter

RESULTS media partners have expressed a renewed interest in using Twitter for our media advocacy. Many RESULTS activists are already using Twitter for their advocacy and media work, but we want those who are not on Twitter to learn how easy it is to use in your RESULTS work. Twitter will enable our partners to reach out frequently and easily to each other, and thus increase our ability to generate ideas for print media.

RESULTS volunteers across the country, in particular your group Media Point Persons, could use Twitter to strengthen our community through regular sharing of media inspirations. For example, recent media successes, hooks, related news stories, etc. can be tweeted or re-tweeted with links to sources.

To get started, please go to this step-by-step guide to learn how to do the following:

  1. Create a Twitter Account. Go to Twitter.com and use your email address to sign up. Twitter will send you an email to confirm that your email is correct.
  2. Set up your profile.
  3. Learn some of the terminology. “@”, “#(hashtag)”, “follow”, “retweet”,
  4. Compose your first tweet so that we can connect. If you’re looking for good people to follow, you can start by checking out your local newspaper editors on Twitter (should be listed in the paper or on the paper’s website), the @RESULTS_Tweets account, and this list of RESULTS activists already on Twitter.

Here is an example of a Tweet you can send:

John Hornby @NWRESULTSRC: @ginnievogts Looking forward to connecting with many @RESULTS_tweets media activists! #talkpoverty

If you don't understand something or get stuck, have no fear. We are here to help. Please contact John Hornby at [email protected] with your questions. Good luck and happy Tweeting!


Quick News

Check Out Blog Post on Why Face-to-Face Meetings Are Important. This month, our Face-to-Face Support Team will be posting a series of RESULTS Blog posts with the whys, whats, and hows of face-to-face meetings. Face-to-face meetings are so important in creating the political will to end poverty. Check out the first installment on the RESULTS Blog by RESULTS Regional Coordinator Cathy Lyons-Spear, telling her story of why face-to-face meetings are so important to her. Tune in each week this month for a new installment.

Check Out of Updated Issues Pages. Before leaving last week, RESULTS U.S. Poverty Intern Kayla Kitson updated our U.S. Poverty Issues pages on the RESULTS website. Her updates include new proposals, legislation, and the most recent data on programs we support to better help you in your advocacy efforts. We’ve also included new information on the wealth gap in the U.S. and have added a new page about the racial wealth gap on the website (also see this about the racial wealth gap).

Learn More about Telling Your Story. Thanks to everyone who participated in our "Telling Your Story" training call last week. It was a great call and we plan ot repeat the trianing again this fall. If you were not on the call, you can learn more about telling your story and "public narrative" from this excellent RESULTS Blog post from U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson. Check it out and then find ways to tell your story in your advocacy work.

Learn What REAL Change Fellows Are Doing the Next Few Months. The REAL Change Fellowship brought nearly 100 young advocates to the RESULTS International Conference this year. These advocates got top-notch training on our issues that they used in DC and will now use in their communities back home. They will connect with existing RESULTS groups (if they live in an area where there is one) and help to start new groups. If you do work with REAL Changers in your area, please welcome them and find ways to help them be active leaders in your group. You can read more about the training schedule for the year on the RESULTS Blog.

For updates on all our U.S. Poverty Campaigns, see our U.S. Poverty Campaigns Summary page on the RESULTS website.


Fundraising Update

We will be launching our Friends & Family campaigns again in early September, so if you are still hoping to do some fundraising this year, be on the lookout for our Thanksgiving Feast, Race to End Poverty, and Celebration pages. These pages will be brand new (we’re updating our platform) and ready to use very soon! Not sure if your group is ready to host a fundraising event? Please contact Jen DeFranco ([email protected]) to brainstorm some options that might fit your group perfectly.


Announcements

Congratulations to New Grassroots Board Members! As announced on last Saturday’s U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, we are excited to announce that Cindy Changyit Levin of RESULTS St. Louis and Vanessa Garcia of RESULTS Orange County, CA have been elected as our newest Grassroots Members of the RESULTS Board. Congratulations to them both. We look forward to their contributions on the Board. We also deeply thank Ginnie Vogts of RESULTS Columbus, OH and Heide Craig of RESULTS Greenville, SC for their tireless and invaluable service on the Board as their tenure ends. We wish the best to both our incoming and outgoing Board members and look forward to their continued leadership in making RESULTS the best it can be.

Thank you Kayla and Jay! Last Saturday was the last day for our U.S. Poverty Intern Kayla Kitson and a few weeks ago, our other intern Jay Carroll ended his internship with us. Both Kayla and Jay were wonderful in helping us this spring and summer. In particular, they did a lot of work preparing the materials many of you used at this year’s International Conference. They both displayed a passion and professionalism for this work and we deeply thank them for their invaluable service. We wish them both the best of luck going forward.

Please Fill Out the Lobby Report Form. If you have not filled out a report for your recent lobby meetings, please take a few minutes fill out our online Lobby Report form at: http://tinyurl.com/LobbyReportForm. Please fill out the form for lobby meetings you have at home and in DC.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: August 4 – September 5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, August 13: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. Register for this or another Intro Call at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Wednesdays August 13, 20, and 27: Reclaiming Our Democracy book discussion with Sam Daley-Harris, 9:00 pm ET.‚Äč Sign up to attend here.

Tuesday, August 19: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Saturday, September 13: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.


RESULTS Contact Information

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:

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.