U.S. Poverty Weekly Update October 2, 2012

As an elementary school teacher, I’m very disturbed that, according to the 2011 poverty statistics, one in four children in Texas live below the poverty level. How can they focus and learn when their basic needs aren’t being met?

— RESULTS Austin volunteer Sarah Yanes in a letter to the editor in the Austin American-Statesman (9/28/12)

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

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Send in Your Letter to the Editor

Congratulations to our RESULTS U.S. poverty volunteers for their media outreach in September! RESULTS got ten media pieces published last month, including five pieces that were published last Thursday alone. We know more of you also submitted letters and op-eds but did not get published. Considering all the demand for space on editorial pages for election-related letters, this is a good showing. We thank all of you for your efforts.

And it’s not too late to still try. With the presidential debates starting this week and the first one focused on domestic policy, you have a great hook to highlight the issue of poverty in letters and op-eds. Frankly, with all the political coverage, political ads, and candidate statements in the news, we have a virtual smorgasbord of “hooks” we can use to get pieces published. Several RESULTS groups are working to get editorials in their local newspapers, highlighting the latest Census data on poverty and urging members of Congress to protect key anti-poverty programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). And, those of us not taking the lead with our local editorial boards can make sure Congress gets the message directly by sending a quick e-mail to our senators and representatives.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to submit a letter to the editor urging lawmakers to make ending poverty a priority. You can find a sample LTE in the September Action sheet or you can use our online LTE alert to submit your letter. Don’t forget to include poverty data from your state or community to give your letter a local connection. Find links to state and local poverty data (2011) on the RESULTS website.  


Got Ten Minutes? Keep Pushing for Poverty Editorials in Your Local Newspapers (September Action)

As with letters to the editor and op-eds, it is not too late to generate an editorial about the importance of addressing poverty in America. As highlighted last week, the election season and debate about the “47 percent” are providing us and newspapers with plenty of material to write about poverty. If we are to create the political will to end poverty, then dealing with poverty in American must be an ongoing discussion with elected leaders, in our communities, and in the media. What better time to start that discussion than when we’re deciding who our next elected leaders will be? Keep the conversation going by urging our local editorial writers and editorial boards to write about poverty in America.

TAKE ACTION: Take twenty minutes to take by contacting an editorial writer to urge him/her to write a piece about poverty in the U.S. If you have already contacted an editorial writer, follow up on your request. Ask if they have any questions about the information you sent or if you can provide any addition resources to help them. Use these tools to help you:

And remember, if your local paper declines to write an editorial, ask if you can submit an op-ed for consideration instead.


Got Twenty Minutes? Help Us Build RESULTS’ Reach and Impact (October Action Preview)

Congratulations! We have a new RESULTS U.S. Poverty group in New England! On Sunday, RESULTS New England Organizer Jenny Martin held a “group start” meeting in Greenfield, MA. People from around western Massachusetts came together to make great connections, get to know RESULTS, and start a new group with a strong base of committed and passionate people. All in all, six people signed up to form the new group, with more interested in joining. One of the new group members has already had a letter to the editor published (“Put Working Families First”) and the rest are rarin’ to go! The group begins its “new group training on Sunday, October 14 at 12:30 pm ET at the First United Methodist Church, 25 Church Street, Greenfield, MA. We still welcome western MA folks to join this new group. Jenny will next be traveling to Maine this week with RESULTS Director or U.S. Poverty Campaigns Meredith Dodson to begin building support for a new group there. If you or someone you know are interested in joining the new MA group, or want to connect people in Maine to our efforts there, please contact Jenny at [email protected] or (413) 772-9596.

RESULTS is also actively working to start a new group in Montana. RESULTS Senior Associate for U.S. Poverty Campaigns Jos Linn is scheduled to travel to Whitefish, MT later this month to start a new group there as well. The meeting is Wednesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm MT at the Whitefish Community Library. If you know people in Montana (regardless of location) who might be interested in our efforts there, please contact Jos at [email protected] or (515) 288-3622.

Our efforts in New England and elsewhere are part of our larger RESULTS strategic plan to grow our reach and impact. RESULTS has always been based on the idea that each voice we add to this effort brings us one step closer to the end of poverty. RESULTS U.S. Poverty goal is to have a presence in all 50 states and 275 congressional districts by the end of 2015. We have U.S. poverty groups and/or advocates in 26 states and 69 congressional districts. Our goal is to reach 27 states and 75 districts by the end of this year. While staff is working diligently to reach this goal, we need your help. We all have connections to people around the country and some of those people might find RESULTS appealing and we simply want your help in identifying those people.

And, with so much at stake for low-income families during the lame duck session including your critical advocacy to protect the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit , along with automatic cuts (“sequestration”) that could gut  Head StartEarly Head Start, and child care, this month we’ll focus on building our own “action networks” of people willing to call Congress or take other critical actions during urgent moments. Our October Action sheet (available later this week) includes suggestions for planning an outreach event to recruit new activists and members of your group’s action network. A few ideas for outreach for the coming weeks include:

  • Invite people to the November National Conference Call with special guest Barbara Ehrenreich (Saturday, November 10 at 12:30 pm ET)
  • Organize a house party or potluck
  • Lead or co-organize a presentation about RESULTS, our issues or an advocacy training at a local university, community center, library, school, or faith community
  • Set up an information/action table at a local farmer’s market or faith community
  • Host a screening of a film – one possibility is hosting a screening of “The Line”, which will premiere tonight in venues across the country (go to your local screening if you can! (see more in Quick News))

TAKE ACTION: Would you be willing to facilitate an introduction between a friend or family member and RESULTS staff? Or perhaps invite someone to an upcoming RESULTS Introductory Call (next call is tomorrow night, October 3 at 9:00 pm ET)? It’s that easy but it can make a world of difference. The people who know and trust you will trust your judgment and perhaps be more open to learning more. Will you help us?

And, this week spend time brainstorming what kind of outreach event you’d like to help organize in your local community, and a list of possible attendees you’d like to invite. Be sure to review the October Action sheet for suggestions.


Use Election Recess to Get Face Time with Members of Congress and Candidates

As you know, Congress is on recess until after the election (they return on November 13). These six weeks at home is a great opportunity for us to meet with them face-to-face and attend town hall or campaign events to ask questions. Remember, on issues like what to do about the expiring improvements to the EITC and CTC, decisions are being made now.  Once they return to Washington, it will be too late as they only have a few weeks in November and December to resolve a whole host of issues. Getting in front of members of Congress and congressional candidates now is vital in shaping what these decisions will include.

TAKE ACTION: Put in your request for face-to-face meetings with your representative and senators during the election recess. You can find a sample request in the August Action sheet or use our online request form. Be sure to follow up within a few days to confirm that your request was received and the status of it. Once you get a meeting scheduled, please contact the RESULTS U.S. Poverty staff to help you plan your agenda and devise the best messaging to use in your meeting.

In addition, look to make contact with members of Congress and candidates at campaign events. Contact their local offices and ask when and where their next public appearances will be. You can use and adapt our updated Tax Credit Laser Talk: Urge Congress to Protect Low-income Tax Credits to ask a question at these events. Check out our PowerPoint presentation, the August 2012 U.S. Poverty Action, and the recording of the August 2012 national conference call for more resources in getting face time with legislators and candidates.


Watch Tomorrow’s Presidential Debate — RESULTS Will Be There

Tomorrow evening at 9:00pm ET, President Obama (D) and Governor Romney (R) will meet in Denver for the first presidential debate of this election season. The topic of this debate will be domestic policy. In the wake of Governor Romney’s “47 percent” comment a few weeks ago and recent political ads aired by the President about Medicaid, we might actually have a debate this year that talks about poverty in America. RESULTS is part of a broader movement to get the candidates to “#TalkPoverty”, including a push to get Presidential debate moderators to ask about poverty during the debates. Tune in tomorrow to see if it worked.

In addition, we are excited that RESULTS Denver volunteers will be part of the action. They will be participating in the University of Denver’s “DebateFest” event tomorrow afternoon. The event has an “issues alley” where groups can set up booths to talk about the issues and promote their work. We thank the RESULTS Denver volunteers for taking the time to get involved in this event and encourage all our groups out there to look for similar opportunities at events (political or not) this fall. Events like this are a great way to get people talking about poverty and to learn about the work of RESULTS.

TAKE ACTION: Join the #TalkPoverty movement by tweeting debate moderators and urging them to ask poverty-related questions during the presidential debates. You can also contact the moderators via e-mail; find contact information on the Every Child Matters website. Finally, if you are near the following venues for the remaining debates this month, see if they are holding similar on-site events like DebateFest in Denver. Here are the debate schedule:

  • October 3 at 9:00 pm ET: Presidential Debate on domestic policy, University of Denver
  • October 11 at 9:00 pm ET: Vice-Presidential Debate, Centre College , Danville, KY (see information about participating in Centre’s Debate Carnival)
  • October 16 at 9:00 pm ET: Presidential Debate on foreign and domestic policy, Hofstra University, Hampstead, NY (learn about their “Public Area” program)
  • October 22 at 9:00 pm ET: Presidential debate on foreign policy, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL (see the list of debate activities)

Quick News

Find Local Screening for New Poverty Movie The Line. The Line documents the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. From Chicago's suburbs and west side to the Gulf Coast to North Carolina, millions of Americans are struggling every day to make it above The Line. The movie premieres on tonight in Washington, D.C. At the premiere event, the approximately 40-minute film will be followed by a panel discussion on poverty with leading scholars, policy advisers, and religious experts. College campuses, churches, and homes across the country will host screenings of the film and live stream the panel discussion. Find a screening near you or host a screening of your own. If you attend or host a screening, provide patrons an action to take after the movie by taking copies of our Tax Credit Outreach Action sheet and giving them out.


Announcements

Barbara Ehrenreich to Speak on November National Conference Call! We are thrilled to announce that famed author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich will be our featured speaker on the November 10 RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call. In her book Nickel and Dimed (2002), Ehrenreich spent time working in a low-wage job to investigate what life was like for the working poor. She has also written other books and articles highlighting the plight of working America. From 1991 to 1997, Ehrenreich was a regular columnist of Time. Currently, she is a regular columnist with The Progressive. Ehrenreich has also written for the New York Times, Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications. We are very excited to have her speak on our call. We'll have more details about the November call and how to plan for it in the October Action sheet and the October 13 National Conference Call. But you can start planning now - use Ms. Ehrenreich's appearance on the November call to organize an outreach event for your local group. We'll have materials to help you get the word out available soon.

New to RESULTS? Join a RESULTS Intro Call This Month... It’s a new month and with that comes a new round of RESULTS Introductory Calls. These 30-45 minutes calls are a great introduction to RESULTS and our work for people who don’t know much about us. Any and all are welcomed to participate. The October calls are tomorrow, October 3 at 9:00 pm ET and Friday, October 19 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for an upcoming call, go to www.tinyurl.com/RESULTSMeetandGreet.

And the New Activist Orientation Series. For those of you who perhaps have done a RESULTS Intro Call or are a new Free Agent or are new to a local RESULTS group, we encourage you to join the RESULTS New Activist Orientation beginning next week. This two-call series provides more in-depth information about RESULTS as well as helpful tools for advocacy. It is a quick and easy way to ramp up your knowledge of RESULTS and start taking action on the issues you care about. The calls are October 10 and 24 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. To RSVP or to get more information about the training, please contact Lisa Marchal ([email protected]).


Fundraising News

Thank you to our Tacoma, WA for hosting a fundraiser with 93 people to hear our own RESULTS staffer Kolleen Bouchane speak about our work. They raised $6000! RESULTS partners Bob Dickerson and Barbara Williams also addressed the guests about how the Tacoma group started in 1984 and their own passion for RESULTS.  Good luck to Asheville, Houston and Detroit who are all holding fundraising events this month.

Tickets on sale online for the Detroit area fundraiser with Marianne Williamson. Please help them spread the word by sharing the link with folks you know in Michigan and Ohio for this special event evening event on October 19 where she will discuss "Consciousness and Activism" and give us a sneak preview of her upcoming Sister Giant conference in Los Angeles.


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: September 21 – November 12. Request face-to-face meetings.

Wednesday, October 3: RESULTS Introductory Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP for the call.

Wednesday, October 10: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the first of two calls in the series; the next call is October 24).

Tuesday, October 16: 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]

Thursday, October 18: RESULTS Social Media Rapid Response Team Intro/Training Call, 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (866) 503-7713, passcode: 4091413579. For more details and to RSVP, please contact Laura Ochoa at [email protected].  

Wednesday, October 24: RESULTS Montana Group Start Meeting, 6:30 – 8:30 pm MT. Whitefish Community Library, 9 Spokane Ave, Whitefish, MT. For more details, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].

Wednesday, October 24: RESULTS New Activist Orientation, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262. RSVP to Lisa Marchal at [email protected]. (this is the second of two calls in the series; the first call is October 10).

Tuesday, November 6: Election Day.

Tuesday, November 13: Congress begins Lame Duck session in Washington, DC.


RESULTS Contact Information

Main Office: (p) (202) 783-7100, (f) (202) 466-1397, 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:

The RESULTS U.S. Poverty 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 U.S. poverty campaigns.