U.S. Poverty Weekly Update September 23, 2014

Poverty a larger problem that we think it is, but also a different kind of problem than we think. Insecurity is the American experience.

 — Professor Stephen Pimpare, Columbia University School of Social Work, in response to the new U.S. Census poverty data

New and Urgent in This Week's Update

Latest from Washington, DC

Organizational Updates


Got Two Minutes? Send State Poverty Data to Editorial Writers (September Action)

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Census released its official poverty data for 2013, which showed that the U.S. poverty rate was 14.5 percent in 2013 (45.3 million people), down slightly from 15.0 percent in 2012 (46.4 million). Later in the week, the Census released an additional round of data on poverty in the 50 states. This localized data can be very helpful in your efforts to get editorials published this month on the EITC and CTC. Newspapers want to know how issues affect people in their communities. As you follow up with editorial writers this week, send them this local data to illustrate the need to address poverty in your area.

TAKE ACTION: Take two minutes to look up state and local poverty data and use it to follow up with editorial writers. Go to http://talkpoverty.org/poverty/ and look up the 2013 poverty data from your state. Note that on your state’s poverty data page, you can find links to data by congressional district on the right side of the page. Take that data and send it to the editorial writer you contacted last week or include it in your initial e-mail to the writer if you haven’t contact him/her yet. If you have questions, please contact Jos Linn ([email protected]) or Meredith Dodson ([email protected]) for help.


Got Ten Minutes? Follow Up with Newspapers about Your Editorial Request (September Action)

Thank you to all of you who have contacted editorial writers about publishing an editorial in your local paper. With Congress having already left Washington, DC to come home to campaign, this is the perfect time to be generating media about poverty in America. Editorials this month will remind them that their constituents not only care about poverty in their community, but that they want answers from their elected leaders (or soon to be elected) on how they plan to fix it.

If you have already contacted a local editor or editorial writer about doing an editorial about poverty and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), please follow up with him/her this week to check on the status of your request. Just like working with congressional offices, follow-up is very important part of the advocacy process. Newspaper staff are overworked and dealing with many requests; yours is likely to get more attention if you keep in contact with them until they publish an editorial (or tell you no).

TAKE ACTION: Take ten minutes to follow up with editors and writers you’ve contacted about writing an editorial on poverty and the EITC and CTC. Offer yourself as a resource to them. Do they have any questions you can answer? Would they like to see poverty data from your state? What other information would be helpful to them? Do they plan to run a piece based on the information you sent? Do what you can to make it easier for them to say yes to writing a piece.


Got Twenty Minutes? It’s Not Too Late to Reach Out to Editorial Writers (September Action)

If you’ve so far been unable to contact editorial page editors or writers about writing an editorial on the EITC and CTC this month, it’s not too late. Since the Census data came out, there has been some media coverage of the data, but seemingly not as much in years past. In addition, some of the coverage that has focused on the apparent drop in poverty from 15.0 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013, failing to note that in an economy that has allegedly recovered and where Wall Street is reaping record profits, a half-percent drop in poverty is not a bragging point. When 1 in 5 American children are still living in poverty (19.9 percent in 2013), we should be mobilizing. And when median wages in America continue to stagnate, we clearly need to do more.

All of these memes are good “hooks” for reaching out to writers now. If your paper has talked about the poverty report, urge them to write something using new state poverty data to make it local. If they have not written anything, tell them that this is the ideal time to do so. With Congress now home until after the election, newspapers have the opportunity to make poverty and its solutions (like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit) a part of the election conversation. Don’t newspapers owe it to their most vulnerable citizens to at least ask politicians what they will do about poverty? Don’t miss this opportunity – reach out to editors and writers today and urge them to write about poverty in American.

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 and attach our EITC/CTC Editorial Memo to it. If you are not sure what to write in your e-mail, personalize and use the one below:

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.

Sincerely,

[your name and contact info]

After you’ve sent your e-mail with the Editorial Memo, plan to follow up in a day or so to see if it was received and to answer any questions (see more about follow-up in our Got Ten Minutes section above). Below are additional resources to help you in your media outreach:

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.


RESULTS Outreach – Exciting Week to Help RESULTS Grow

This is a busy week with RESULTS’ outreach efforts around the country, as well as support calls to help you reach out to new people. Please review the calendar below and if you know people in these areas, please invite them to attend one of these exciting events.

September 23 – Tucson, Arizona. U.S. Poverty Organizer Myrdin Thompson is working to start a new group in Tucson. She is holding a RESULTS outreach meeting tonight at 6:30pm MT at Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea. If you know anyone in Arizona, please invite them to come. See the Tucson Facebook Event page or contact Myrdin at [email protected] for more details.

September 23 – Auburn, AL. U.S. Poverty Organizer Kristy Martino is working with students at Auburn University to start a new group tonight as well. If you know anyone in the Auburn area, please contact Kristy at [email protected] about how to get connected to the new group.

September 24“Growing RESULTS” Support Call. If you’d like to get support for expanding RESULTS in your area, join our Expansion Team for a support call tomorrow, September 24 at 9:00 pm ET. To participate, dial (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

September 24RESULTS Salt Lake City Informational Call. RESULTS volunteers will be hosting an informational call with people in Salt Lake City this tomorrow, September 24 at 8:00 pm ET. If you or someone you know lives in the Salt Lake City area and you want to learn how you can get involved with RESULTS, please plan to join this call by dialing (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.

September 25 – Birmingham, AL. Kristy Martino 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 invite them to attend. See more about the event at our Birmingham Facebook Event page or contact Kristy at [email protected].

October 20 – 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.


Congress Home Until After the Election – Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings

After only two weeks in DC, Congress has decided to recess until after the election. Both the House and Senate left DC last week to come home to campaign. They will not return to Washington until the week of November 10. Before leaving DC, both the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through December 11. Had no CR been passed, another government shutdown would have occurred on October 1. The CR funds government agencies at the FY 2014 levels with a 0.05 percent across the board cut.

After the election (i.e. the “Lame Duck” session), Congress will work to pass a funding bill or bills for FY 2015. We also expect the Lame Duck to include some tax bills, mainly for tax “extenders” which are various tax credits Congress extends every year. There is the possibility that Congress could include the provisions from H.R.4935 in the extenders bill. Remember that H.R.4935 was the “bad Child Tax Credit” bill passed by the House in July, which expanded the CTC to wealthy families while cutting off 5.5 million children of immigrant parents.

Therefore, this is an important time to remind your members of Congress to protect and expand the EITC and CTC – not make things worse for low-income families like in H.R.4935 – and help families save with the Financial Security Credit. If you have not met with your representative or senators recently, please contact your House and Senate schedulers and put in your request for a meeting. Also, ask if your members of Congress will be holding any town hall meetings in the next few weeks. You can find scheduler names and contact information on the RESULTS Elected Officials page. Also, hit the ground running by also meeting with congressional candidates and get to know them n before they take office. You can find information on candidates at: http://results.capwiz.com/election/home/. Be sure to take our Economic Mobility and Early Childhood lobby meeting request sheets with you.

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.


Join the RESULTS Intro Call this Friday at 1pm ET

Have you run into a friend lately and wondered “How can I get this person involved with RESULTS?” We have the answer. Invite that person to join our next RESULTS Introductory Call. These 30-45 minute calls provide a good overview of RESULTS and how you can get involved. The next RESULTS Intro Call is this Friday, September 26 at 1:00 pm ET. To register for this or another upcoming Intro Call, go to: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.


Quick News

Sign Your RESULTS Group onto Child Nutrition Letter. Next year, child nutrition programs (e.g. school breakfasts and lunches) will be up for reauthorization in Congress. To ensure that these important programs remain strong and vibrant, child nutrition advocates are circulating a letter to President Obama urging him invest significant resources in these programs during reauthorization. You can help by adding your local RESULTS group to the list of supporting organizations (RESULTS has also signed on as a national partner). Please go to: http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5118/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=18378 and fill out the information at the bottom of the page to sign your group on. For the “Organization” name, enter your group name (e.g. RESULTS Twin Cities, RESULTS San Fernando Valley) into the box. Thank you for taking this time to support programs that help keep America’s children healthy.

Keep Up with the Nuns on the Bus. The "Nuns on the Bus" continue their 2014 voter engagement tour this week. After a kick-off last Wednesday in Des Moines with Vice President Joe Biden (attended by RESULTS Des Moines volunteers), the Nuns are heading to Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan this week. See a list of their stops at the NETWORK website and plan to attend an event near you. Be sure to share information about the tour with others you know.

Guardian Article Provides Sobering View of Poverty. At RESULTS, we are always looking for real-life stories of people experiencing poverty, recognizing the power those stories in moving people to action. This past week, the Guardian posted a story by Linda Tirado, a low-income worker who has written a new book about her experiences (Hand to Mouth, due out in October). It is a difficult, honest, and powerful piece to read. If you want one person’s inside view of poverty, take a few minutes to read this amazing piece. Note: the article does include profanity.

CAP Report Highlights Needed Tax Changes. A new report for the Center for American Progress highlights the growing consensus to reform the U.S. tax code. It overviews the problems with the current code and makes several recommendations on how to make the code work better for all Americans. One of their recommendations is to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC permanent and also expand the EITC for workers without children in the home, something RESULTS has been pushing for. Read the report and then make your voice heard. Use our online alert to urge Congress to make the 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC permanent.

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


Announcements

What’s Up with the RESULTS Website? As you may have noticed, the RESULTS website is looking different these days. Over the last several weeks, we’ve been making some subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the website, most notably changing the font to a more reader-friendly style. We’ve also consolidated pages to make things easier to find. Check out these exciting new changes. We will continue to make small improvements in the coming weeks and when all is said and done, we will offer a new RESULTS website training to help you navigate our improved site. In the meantime, if you have trouble finding information on the site, please contact Jos Linn at [email protected].


Fundraising Update

Fundraising event season is getting into full swing! We want to thank the following groups for putting their events on the calendar before the end of 2014 and let you all know there is still time to get an event planned before we move into 2015! Here’s a list of upcoming events:

  • Columbus, Ohio - Sunday, October 19, 2014
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico - Sunday, November 9, 2014
  • Detroit, Michigan - Sunday, November 16, 2014
  • Houston, TX - Friday, November 21, 2014
  • Austin, TX - Saturday, November 22, 2014
  • Seattle, WA - Monday, December 15, 2014

If you don't feel you can manage an actual event before December 31, why not a virtual event instead? You could have your group host a Virtual Thanksgiving Feast. You can set your campaign up as a team page and collectively utilize our Friends and Family campaign to raise funds as a group, without ever leaving home. If you have questions or need help, please contact Jen DeFranco at [email protected].


RESULTS Activity Calendar

(See a complete calendar on the RESULTS website)

Upcoming Congressional Recesses: House and Senate: September 22 – November 11. Request face-to-face meetings.

Tuesday, September 23: National Voter Registration Day. RESULTS joining hundreds of organizations urging people to register to vote. You can look up candidates and print out registration forms at: http://results.capwiz.com/election/home/.

Wednesday, September 24: Growing RESULTS Support Call, 9:00 pm ET. (712) 432-3100, passcode 761262.

Friday, September 26: RESULTS Introductory Call, 1:00 pm ET. Register for an upcoming Intro Call at: http://www.results.org/take_action/become_a_results_activist/#Introductory%20Call.

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.

Saturday, October 11: RESULTS U.S. Poverty National Conference Call, 12:30 pm ET. Listen to previous conference calls online.

Tuesday, October 21: U.S. Poverty Free Agents Call, 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET. (857) 232-0476, passcode 703096.


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.