U.S. Poverty Weekly Update June 17, 2014

 I guess for Congress, the deficit only matters when you're poor.

— RESULTS Seacoast (NH/ME) volunteer Alexandra Chan a June 7 letter to the editor on Seacoastonline

New and Urgent in This Week's Update (Two-Ten-Twenty Actions)

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Send Us Your Picture and Submit Questions for Conference Speakers

The RESULTS International Conference opens this weekend! To kick off the festivities on Saturday, we are opening the conference with a slideshow highlighting all the difference-makers working to make this a world free of poverty. That’s you! We want you and/or your group represented in this presentation. If you submit your picture (preferably with your group) today, we can use it in the slideshow. Please send us your picture, holding a sign that completes this sentence: “The change I want to be in the world is...” You can see examples on the RESULTS Blog.

Also, if you’d like to ask our conference keynote speakers a question – whether you’re in DC or not – please submit them now using our online questions form. This is another great way to participate in the conference from home.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to send us your individual or group picture. There’s little time left – the deadline to submit pictures is 6pm ET TODAY. Please send your picture to Jay Carroll at [email protected]. Also, please submit questions for conference keynote speakers Dr. Jim Kim, Tavis Smiley, Raj Shah, and others at the conference. Go to our questions form to submit your questions today. We’ll take questions through this Friday, June 20.


Got Ten Minutes? Help Us Make the June 24 Call-in Day a Huge Success (June Action)

One week from today, hundreds of RESULTS volunteers and advocates will be on Capitol Hill urging members of Congress and their staff to make ending poverty a national priority. As discussed on last Saturday’s RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, we want everyone to participate in this important day of advocacy. Because many of you cannot come to DC and participate in Lobby Day directly, RESULTS is organizing a National Call-in Day on June 24 so you and others in your community still make your voices heard. Think of how powerful it will be having volunteer sitting down with their members of Congress, telling them to expand economic mobility in America, while outside in the lobby the receptionist is fielding dozens of calls with the same message. This is a great way to turn up the volume on your advocacy and really hit our message home with members of Congress.

And don’t just rely on your groups to call. This action is a great way to get others into action. Call-ins are easy and fast and expose people to the great work you’re doing in your community. Reach out to people in your local action networks, friends, family, online contacts, and others and urge them to call. Start contacting them now so people are ready to call first thing next Tuesday. We have a printable call-in flyer (Word version / PDF version) with the number to call and what to say when you call. There’s even a QR code in the flyer you can use to send an e-mail on your their phone or tablet after you call. Help us make this our most powerful Lobby Day yet!

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to reach out to people you know and urge them to call Congress on June 24 urging Congress to expand economic mobility in America. The June Action has tips and resources to help you reach out to people in your area and online. See last week’s update for a sample e-mail you can use to spur people into action. Use our printable call-in flyer (Word version / PDF version) to send out to people; it provides the call-in number and what to say when you call.

Ask people to write letters to be delivered in DC. In addition to calls, if you or someone in your group or state is coming to DC this weekend, plan to hand-deliver letters to your members of Congress from people back home. Use the second half of the June Action for talking points in writing letters. Once the letters are written, collect them before you leave for DC.


Got Twenty Minutes? Confirm Your Lobby Meetings

With only a week to go before Lobby Day 2014, this is the time to make sure you have your lobby meetings set up for the RESULTS International Conference. It’s not too late to request meetings if you have not done so. If you are dividing the scheduling duties among members of your group or among groups in the same state, check in with one another to see how things are going.

Also, as we noted last week, requesting lobby meetings and following up on your requests can take time so it is much better to share the work rather than rely on one person to do it all. Even if you’re not coming to DC, help your fellow group members who are by requesting and/or following up on requests for meetings on June 24. You can find names and contact info on our Elected Officials page. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to request meetings. Once you meetings scheduled, please enter the meeting information in the Lobby Meeting Form at http://tinyurl.com/HillMeeting.

If you already have lobby meetings scheduled (and have them entered into the Lobby Meeting form), take time this week to confirm your meetings. Call the scheduler or aide to confirm the date, time, location, attendees, and topics. This will ensure that everything is good to go next week.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes this week to make sure your June 24 Lobby Day runs smoothly. Ensure that by:

  1. Scheduling all your planned lobby meetings this week. Use our downloadable meeting request letter or our online version to request meetings with your members of Congress. Be sure to ask to meet face-to-face with them. Help out DC travelers in your group by helping them request meetings and/or follow up on requests.
  2. Enter all your scheduled meetings in the conference Lobby Meeting Form. Enter information for each meeting http://tinyurl.com/HillMeeting (please fill it out separately for each meeting).
  3. Confirm your Lobby Meetings with the scheduler or aide. Contact the person with whom you set the meeting to confirm the date, time, and location of the meeting, the number and names of the people who will attend, and the topics to be discussed.

And for those of you who cannot come to DC, remember that Congress is on recess June 30 – July 4 and again most of August. Be sure to put in face-to-face requests for those recesses as well. Even if your fellow group member gets a face-to-face meeting in DC, request another one for these upcoming recesses so you can follow up on your DC requests, as well as give those group members who could not come to DC the chance to meet with your members of Congress.


The 2014 RESULTS International Conference is Here – Finally!

The RESULTS International Conference is here! On Saturday, RESULTS’ biggest event of the year begins. And you know what? You can still come. If you want to join us this weekend for this amazing event, go to http://www.results.org/events/IC_2014/ to register today!

For those of you coming to DC, here is one final run-through of things to help you get ready (in addition to setting up and confirming your lobby meetings).

  1. Read the RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative Handbook. The legislative handbook has background information on all of our 2014 U.S. Poverty Campaigns and is a valuable resource in preparation for the conference. Please read it before you come to DC and bring a hard or digital copy with you; we will not be printing copies for everyone.
  2. Invite your members of Congress to our Lobby Day reception. Use our invitation letter on the RESULTS International Conference page to invite them to speak at our Lobby Day reception at the Washington Court Hotel on the evening of June 24. This is another thing that your groups members not coming to DC can help with.
  3. Read the IC Checklist. For a complete list of things to do before coming to DC, read our 2014 Conference Checklist.
  4. Check Out the Exciting Agenda. Go to the RESULTS International Conference page and download our latest agenda to see what exciting sessions and events we have planned for the conference.
  5. Dress Appropriately. Please remember that DC is usually hot and humid this time of year. While most of your time will be spent comfortably indoors, you will have to go out from time to time, so wear something comfortable. Also, please pack appropriate clothing for Lobby Day on June 24. You will be meeting with people who are professionally dressed and you’ll want to make a good impression. Plan to dress professionally, as if you were going to a job interview.
  6. Prepare to Have Fun. Anyone who has been to a RESULTS conference before can tell you that it’s more like a family reunion and that policy and advocacy conference (although you get plenty of that too). Expect to have a great time when you get to DC!

Conference Call Guest Highlights Staggering Racial Wealth Gap

RESULTS deeply thanks Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of the Center for Global Policy Solutions for being our guest speaker on this month’s National Conference Call. Dr. Rockeymoore is the co-author of the recent report Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security. She spent her time on the call highlighting some of the findings from the report and some of the recommendations to deal with the growing racial wealth gap in America. Here is some of what she discussed:

  • We need to look beyond just income inequality and address wealth inequality in America. Income inequality is just one part of the larger problem of wealth inequality.
  • Based on 2011 Census data, this is how U.S. median liquid wealth (cash or assets that can be converted to cash) broke down:
    • White households had $23,000 in wealth, including retirement, and Asian Americans had $19,000
    • Compare that with Latinos who only had $340 in wealth and African Americans who had only $200
    • When you removed retirement savings, African Americans had only $25 in liquid wealth!
  • One-third of African Americans and Latinos have no tangible assets whatsoever – zero or negative wealth (this is why the report was names “Beyond Broke”)
  • During the Great Recession, African-Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos experienced dramatic loss of wealth. Between 2005 and 2009:
    • Latinos lost 55% of net worth, African Americans lost 53% of net worth, while Whites only lost 16%
    • Right now, for every $1 in wealth a White household has, African Americans have 6 cents and Latinos have 7 cents

Dr. Rockeymoore highlighted many more important findings from the paper, but she also highlighted how we can change things. She said we first need to start by using asset building as a way to address poverty (something RESULTS has advocated for for years). She introduced the idea of building an “Asset House” which contains various levels of asset building built on one another. The foundation is built upon societal assets such as Medicare, unemployment insurance, education, citizenship, which support all the other “floors” of the house. The first floor would include tax policy that prioritizes education, health programs, and the safety net. The next floor would include community asset that are important to families, such as kinship networks, faith institutions, etc. Finally, the top floor would include personal assets such as savings, homeownership, retirement assets, etc.. Dr. Rockeymoore said the debate over assets focuses too much on the top floor only, not recognizing that personal asset building cannot be successful at a societal level unless the underlying structures are already in place.

Dr. Rockeymoore’s presentation was very eye-opening and extremely beneficial in our advocacy work. If you have not looked at the slides she prepared for the call, please download and read them today. Be sure to use the information she provided us in your correspondence and lobby meetings with members of Congress. Send your tax aides the Beyond Broke report and use it to argue for strengthening programs that foster asset building through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),  Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the Financial Security Credit. Send an e-mail today urging Congress to make critical investments that reduce wealth inequality.

Thank you again to Dr. Rockeymoore for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with us on Saturday. If you were not on the call, we encourage you to listen to a recording of the call as well as read the slides and summary of the call. You can find them on the RESULTS Conference Calls page.


Quick News

New Chart Tracks Minimum Wage Increase by District. Our friends at OxFam America have created a helpful new interactive map that charts the benefits of increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by congressional district. Although RESULTS is not actively involved in the minimum wage debate, we strongly support an increase in the minimum wage and have endorsed the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R.1010/S.460). See more about the minimum wage in the 2014 RESULTS U.S. Poverty Legislative Handbook (beginning on page 12).

Read More about REAL Change Because It’s Coming to Your Town. We’ve been talking about the REAL Change Fellowship Program for a number of months now in anticipation of the RESULTS International Conference. What you may not now is that the conference is only the beginning of the Fellowship. REAL Change is now a year-long program where participants agree not only to come to the conference, but also go back to their communities to continue their advocacy and organizing around U.S. and global poverty issues. Many of our participants this year live in areas with already existing RESULTS groups and will thus be working with many of you in the coming months. So you can better understand what they will be doing, please read about the REAL Change program and what participants will be doing over the next year in our RESULTS Blog post. Many of you have already “met” these REAL Changers as part of lobby prep for the conference. If you are coming to the conference this year, please make them feel welcome and talk to them about activities you can work on back in your home state.

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


Fundraising Update – The Race is On

There is still time to enter the race... the Everyday Hero race, that is! Everyone is invited to be part of our Second Annual Everyday Hero Virtual Dash. This a virtual event to raise money to support you in your advocacy work and invite others to be heroes with us. It's a fun run or walk that you literally can do anywhere: your neighborhood, a track, even a treadmill. If you are coming to the RESULTS International Conference, join us THIS WEEK at the DoubleTree Hilton in Crystal City on June 21 at 7:00 pm, and we'll head out together (some of us in superhero costume) for a 1 mile or 5K run/walk. It's easy to participate!

  • Register on our www.tinyurl.com/2014EHD​ for just $25 (only pre-registered participants are guaranteed a medal).
  • Choose a date between June 1-30, 2014.
  • Walk. Run, or even bike a distance meaningful to you: 1 mile, a 5K, 10 miles...
  • We'll mail you our Second Annual "Everyday Heroes Medal" in July. This year’s medal is blue if you’re building a collection!

Or what about gathering a group of friends to walk/run together and make it a fundraising event back home or setting up your own personal fundraising page (www.tinyurl.com/resultsrace) and ask Friends & Family to donate online in support of your challenge. The “RESULTS Race to End Poverty​” site is for volunteers who are doing physical challenges like running, swimming, or biking (or you could do it in conjunction with the IC Everyday Hero Dash taking place this week on June 21 in DC!).


Announcements

Join the RESULTS Free Agents Calls Today at 1pm and 9pm ET. The RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents will be meeting today, June 17 at 1:00pm at 9:00 pm ET for their monthly support calls. On today’s calls, we’ll discuss the June Action and how you and people in your community can take action on economic mobility 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 (call into whichever call is most convenient for you). To participate in one of the calls, dial (443) 453-0034 and enter passcode 703096.

No Media Support Call Tonight. To get ready for the RESULTS conference, the Media Team has canceled this month’s support call.

No Weekly Update Next Tuesday. Because of the RESULTS International Conference, there will be no RESULTS U.S. Poverty Weekly Update on June 24. We will send an Action Alert that day urging you to call Congress during Lobby Day at the conference. The next regular U.S. Poverty Weekly Update will go out on July 1.

Give Feedback to Grassroots Board Members. The four RESULTS Grassroots Board Members (Heide Craig, Lydia Pendley, Ginnie Vogts, and Beth Wilson) would like to hear from you if you have questions or ideas about RESULTS and our work. Send your questions or suggestions to Heide at: [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: June 30 – July 4, August 4 – September 5. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, June 17: RESULTS U.S. Poverty Free Agents Calls, 1:00 pm ET and 9:00 pm ET. (443) 453-0034, passcode 703096.

Friday, June 27: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00pm CT. Register for this or another Intro Call at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/.

Saturday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 24: RESULTS International Conference, Washington, DC. REGISTER TODAY!

Friday, July 4: All RESULTS offices closed for the Independence Day holiday.

Saturday, July 12: RESULTS Joint U.S. and Global Poverty National Conference Call, 2:00 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.