Today's Taxes are Tomorrow's Opportunity

An interesting report came across our desk today. Here are some key findings:

  • The United States has the best infrastructure and transit in the world;
  • We are protecting our environment and living in a completely sustainable way that ensures future generations can enjoy our planet;
  • We’ve surpassed every other nation on earth in elementary reading and math scores;
  • and perhaps most shocking, social mobility is higher than ever!

In short, this report found that public investment has allowed our nation to thrive and be an engine for social mobility. Anybody that works hard can share in this unprecedented prosperity!

Of course we all know none of this is true. We don’t have the best infrastructure or education the world. We don’t hold polluters accountable and social mobility is not possible for many. But we should never forget that it is possible.

Today is tax day, and hopefully you’ve already filed your taxes. Our taxes provide the money for public investments that pave the way for shared prosperity. The problem is that the wealthiest people in the nation–the very people that have prospered by public investment–pay less of their income on taxes than we do.

We believe that fair taxation, of both income and wealth, is a cornerstone in a prosperous and fair economy. We work with state-based groups that are fighting the culture of austerity, disinvestment, and privatization every day. That's why today UFE and our partners at Voices for Progress are sending a letter from families in the top 5% in wealth in the US, urging congress to raise their taxes. We know that the only way to shared prosperity is through fair policies.

You’re a critical part of this work. And together, we need to hold accountable those individuals and businesses that have benefited from the investments that all of us have made and not contributed back. 

Today we’re asking for you to invest in this shared prosperity. Your donation helps us fight the culture of disinvestment and neglect that austerity and unfair tax policies promote.

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Join us as we celebrate Steve Schnapp!

Friends,

 

With mixed feelings, we announce that a wise and humble member of the United for a Fair Economy family is moving along.  After fourteen years as a facilitator, popular educator and mentor to many, Steve Schnapp is retiring.  As sad as we are to see him go, we are really excited to throw a party for him!  (One he insisted we not have. Ha!)

 

Join us at Spontaneous Celebrations, 45 Danforth Street in Jamaica Plain, MA on

Thursday, April 23rd from 7:00pm-10:00pm

to celebrate the retirement of long-time UFE educator-extraordinaire Steve Schnapp!

 

Those of you who know Steve will not be surprised to hear that we use the term “retire” loosely. Someone as dedicated to his work, and above all, the principles of economic and racial justice, will not be easily pulled from the movement. Steve will continue to show up for justice, and at UFE we’re going draw on his wisdom for a while longer. This does mean, though, that he’ll be spending much more time with his granddaughters, Grey and Zuzu, his wife Honey, and his two daughters, Tania and Jessie. And we couldn’t be happier for him.

 

Please join United for a Fair Economy on Thursday, April 23rd to celebrate Steve Schnapp and a life of humble contributions in support of the movement for social and economic justice.

There will be hors d'oeuvres, drinks, dancing and good company -- what more could you want?!

 

Can’t make the party? Consider Making a donation to the United for a Fair Economy Education Team in Steve’s honor. Your donation will enable UFE to continue to provide our unique brand of Popular Economics Education for organizers working on the front lines for social and economic justice. And by the way, we’re holding an open Training of Trainers right here in our own back yard at the Walker Center on May 28-31.

 

For more information, please contact Riahl O’Malley, National Education Coordinator at romalley@faireconomy.org or at 617.423.2148 ext. 127.


 

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May 2015: Popular Economics Training at the Walker Center

 

UFE's Training of Trainers Institute involves exploring the causes and consequences of income and wealth inequality and providing participants with educational tools to help inform their communities and inspire political action.

Transformative education—which includes reflection, thoughtful analysis, and learning from each other—is vital to the success of any movement for social and economic justice. In order to challenge the economic status quo, we first need to make sense of the roots of inequality and, more broadly, the ways in which systems create and perpetuate class, race, and gender inequality. Working toward a shared understanding of how we got here and a shared vision for the future will help us build a cross-race, cross-class movement for an equitable, democratic, and sustainable economy.

Our Popular Economics Education Team is once again offering UFE's renowned Training of Trainers Institute May 28-31, 2015 in Auburndale, MA at the Walker Conference Center (details below). We invite organizers, activists, educators, students, and others across the U.S. who want to join and advance the movement for a just economy, to attend.

Jeannette Huezo, Steve Schnapp, and Riahl O'Malley, will help you learn how to engage people in dialogue through UFE-style popular economics education workshops that demystify the economy and creatively educate, inspire, and mobilize people to take political action.

DATE:
Thursday, May 28 – ­Sunday, May 31, 2015
On-site check-in from 3:00–6:00 p.m. on Thursday May 28;
The Institute ends at 1:30 p.m.  on May 31.

LOCATION:
The Walker Center in Auburndale, MA (30 minutes from Boston’s Logan Airport and accessible by public transportation)

 

About the Institute

Is this training right for me?

What will I learn about?

What will particpants do?

What is the registration process?

 

Watch this video from one of our previous Training of Trainers.

UFE's Training of Trainers Institute: A Reflection from United for a Fair Economy on Vimeo.

 

IT IS RIGHT FOR YOU IF YOU ARE:

  • An organizer, leader, activist, teacher, or trainer engaged in campaigns for economic or social justice, and/or
  • If you are seeking to improve your training and facilitation skills in order to more effectively present information and engage people in dialogue about the economy. 

YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT:

  • National economic trends and the rules, policies, and structures that make the economy a disaster for most of us and a goldmine for a few
  • Viewing the economy through race and gender lenses;
  • Some history about popular resistance to economic inequality in the U.S.;
  • Strategies to build a powerful social movement that will address the economic divides; and Principles and practices of popular education.  

YOU WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO: 

  • Work in small groups to plan and practice leading either UFE's or original popular economics education workshop activities;
  • Receive constructive feedback on how to effectively present workshops and lead productive discussions on economic inequality;
  • Discuss how to best adapt UFE's materials to your communities and constituents;
  • Practice responding to challenging questions and difficult workshop situations; and
  • Network, build solidarity and open doors for collaboration with others working for economic justice.

THE PROGRAM INCLUDES PRESENTATIONS OF CREATIVE AND ENGAGING ACTIVITIES FROM UFE'S WORKSHOPS, INCLUDING: 

  • The Growing Divide - The Roots of Economic Security
  • Closing the Racial Wealth Divide
  • Immigration and the Growing Divide  

SCHEDULE AND REGISTRATION:

  • To register click here.  Application due April 17th
  • After we have received your registration your participation will be confirmed no later than April 30th.  We recommend singing up early so you can secure your own flight at a reasonable price
  • Participants should arrive at the Walker Center on Thursday, May 28, between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.; the program begins after dinner on Thursday and concludes after lunch on Sunday, May 31.
  • Sessions are conducted in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
  • Breaks are provided throughout the day to allow participants to catch their breath, reflect on and network with other participants.

Registration fee is based on a sliding scale based on whether you are attending as an invididual, or with the support of an organization. Cost includes the institute fee, materials, meals, and room/board (double occupancy). Transportation is NOT included. A minimum $25 deposit is required upon admission into the training. Payment in full is due one week before the start of the Institute. We offer additional reductions to organizations sending two or more participants.

Space is limited and preference is given to applicants who are able to attend the full Institute. Some materials, including a detailed agenda for the Institute, short readings, and logistical information, will be sent to all registrants prior to the training to help participants prepare for the Institute.

 


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Contact Riahl O'Malley via email (romalley@faireconomy.org) or phone at 827-277-7868 x127.

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Meet our new Executive Director

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President Obama & Congress: Tax US!

In the State of the Union address, President Obama called for strengthening tax benefits for middle class and low-income working families, and for investing more in child care, early education, and higher education, including making the first two years of community college free. 99 percent of the impact of the President’s tax reform proposal would be on the top 1 percent, and more than 80 percent would come from the top 0.1 percent (those with incomes over $2 million). Responsible Wealth is gathering signatures in support of the President's plan.

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State of the Dream 2015: Underbanked and Overcharged

This Martin Luther King, Jr. day, UFE is excited to release it's annual State of the Dream Report, titled "Underbanked and Overcharged." This report finds that access to banks in communities of color cost each unbanked household $3,029 per year, taking $103 billion out of the communities that need it most.

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Fear < Hope: A Letter from our Board Chair

People Power
Dear Friends and Supporters of UFE,

You and UFE know that 2015 is going to be a challenging year. But all over the country people are rising up - workers, young people, artists, activists and educators - challenging economic and racial oppression and building grassroots power. 


Here's what's in the works just for January. Drumroll please! 

Coming right up on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we'll be releasing our 12th annual State of the Dream report, entitled "Underbanked and Overcharged." This year's report examines the racial aspects of the 93 million adults and children that live in unbanked and underbanked households, and who collectively pay out $89 billion in service fees and interest - over $2,000 per household - to payday lenders, check cashers and other predatory lenders.  We also explore potential solutions to this crisis, and we will announce a major organizing effort that will begin to work toward this ambitious change.  

And in 2015, with your support, we'll be devoting a major part of our resources towards Popular Economic Education and partnerships with low-wage worker organizers. 

The first weekend inJanuary our Popular Economics Education Team will be in Florida to lead our intensive Training of Trainers for the Rural Coalition/Caucus of the Equal Voice for Florida Families Network, a coalition of low-wage workers and tax fairness organizers that includes the Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker's Self-Help, the North Florida Education and Development Corporation, the Young American Dreamers. 

This is just a sampling of the many ways that you and UFE will be challenging the current economic and political power structure and working with allies all over the country to build a more sustainable, resilient and equitable economy. 


Thank you! 

Monique Nguyen
Board Chair, United for a Fair Economy
 

P.S. Here's what your gift can do: 

$25 = 1 hour of translation of UFE racial wealth divide workshop materials

$50 = 250 bilingual cards handed out highlighting the concentration of wealth inequality and what we believe a Fair Economy should look like

$100 = 50 of UFE’s annual State of the Dream Report in the hands of local economic justice organizers with resources on how to incorporate it into their work

$500 = Intensive Training of Trainers scholarship for low-wage grassroots organizer

$1000 = Full scholarship for attendee of Raise the Roots national organizing conference

$5000 = Make the Raise the Roots Conference fully accessible, regardless of language

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Imagine

“Imagining solutions,” the title of one of the many incredible conversations held last weekend at the annual conference of the National Alliance of Latinoamerican and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). “We chose the word ‘imagine’ deliberately,” explained Oscar Chacon, Executive Director of the Alliance.  “We are often told we need to accept the world as it is.” Organizers and activists gathered from around the country, as well as from Mexico and Central America, to reflect on ten years of work together and to chart a path towards a world as we imagine it should be.

United for a Fair Economy attended in support of the alliance and the incredible work being done by organizers and activists across the country.  NALACC is made up of Latino immigrant-lead organizations who are engaged in an inclusive struggle for social, economic and racial justice.  They are on the front lines, challenging the concentration of wealth and power.  Their work is vital to forming a movement that will build a more just society, a fair economy.  With the incredible challenges faced by immigrants in the U.S. and the violence and economic destitution that force many to migrate, we must hold our imaginations close.  

And as we imagine, we must also speak.  “The words we use create our reality,” said panelist Maria Elena Letona, Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, a state-based economic and social justice organization in Massachusetts.  Following presentations from academics, journalists and activists, conference attendees divided into working groups to discuss what they heard and to plan.  United for a Fair Economy’s education team facilitated an extended dialogue on economic inequality.  This dialogue-based approach to organizing gave an opportunity to everyone attending to take ownership in the creation of a new reality.

“We have to talk about power,” insisted Miguel Huezo-Mixco, who flew in from El Salvador representing the United Nations Development Program.  He wasn’t only talking about the extreme concentration of wealth and power that organizations like NALACC and UFE seek to challenge, but also the power we harness to confront injustice. “How do we exercise power together?” he asked.

The NALACC facilitation team documented people’s responses in order to create a plan for building power over the years to come.  Organizers also offered a specific way in which power could be used to protect the human rights and dignity of immigrants across the country:  “Mr. President, use the power of the pen” read a banner on the stage in front.  It is the title of a campaign to put pressure on President Obama to use executive action to halt deportations.  The effort reflects the incredible imagination of the strong and committed immigrant organizers.  In spite of significant barriers placed by inequality, they have imagined a world in which people, immigrant and non-immigrant, are valued for their unique social, cultural and economic contributions to this country and to the world.  President Obama is planning to announce an immigration enforcement overhaul that could protect as many as five million immigrants from the threat of deportation.  This is thanks to an effort lead by immigrant activists and organizers across the country like those at NALACC, like the #not1more campaign, and many others waging the fight for justice.  United for a Fair Economy is proud to stand by their side.

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Next Tuesday, let your principals guide you

 

Next week, on November 4thanother election day will be upon us.  While we do not believe that voting alone will bring about the change that we need to achieve economic justice, it is one step towards building a movement that is needed for radical change to occur. And let’s not be fooled—radical change is needed in this country.


From Ferguson to Seattle.

From Durham to Providence.

From Miami to Detroit.

From your community to ours...


Change is needed to reach past the powers that be and build a movement for transformative economic justice.

 

When you enter your polling location next Tuesday, we ask you to think about your guiding principals. We at UFE have put a lot of thought towards our guiding principals, and we wanted to share some of them with you.

 

We believe that a fair economy is built around:

  • Jobs with dignity and living wages, where workers have the democratic right to organize and share the wealth produced by their labor.
  • A robust public sectorthat works for the common good, funded through progressive taxes and accountable to the people.
  • Equal opportunity and equal justice for people who have been marginalized in our society based on gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, and social class.
  • Sustainability and equity, where individuals do not accumulate excesses of wealth to the detriment of others or the planet. 

We each have our own principals that help guide us down the path of justice. We shared ours. Take from them, add to them or use your own. But when you vote next week, let those principals be your compass.  With these principals, we are on the path to justice. 

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United With Ferguson: Racial Divides and Wealth

For the past few weeks, the nation’s attention has focused on an unlikely epicenter of race relations, a Quik-Trip convenience store about fifteen miles north of St. Louis. It was there that 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was gunned down by a white police officer, and it is there that a groundswell of sympathy and frustration has prompted the community, and nation, to act. The town of Ferguson was rocked by this tragic event, and has responded in an incredible way – by organizing. In addition to memorials, people are setting up voter registration tables, and this moment is on its way to becoming a movement with racial inequity at the heart of the conversation.


We believe that, in the words of Frederick Douglas, “power concedes nothing without a demand.” We at United for a Fair Economy have a very simple demand: let’s build an economy that works for Ferguson, and for the south side of Chicago, and for everywhere in between. Let’s build a system that provides the same level of economic stability for communities of color as exists in middle class suburbs or affluent communities. Just as racial profiling is at the heart of this tragic event, the racial wealth divide should be a part of this conversation, and that is something that we’ve been working to bring into public consciousness for over a decade.


We understand that systemic racism will always exist as long as our economy doesn’t match our ideals. That’s why we were founded twenty years ago with a simple goal: to work towards a fair economy. We live up to this ambitious mission, and our name says it all.

We are united to build an economy that provides equal opportunity and equal justice for people who have been marginalized in our society based on race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or social class.

We are united to build an economy that creates jobs with dignity, that provide living wages, and where workers have the democratic right to organize and share the wealth produced by their labor.

We are united to create a robust public sector that works for the common good, funded through progressive taxes, and accountable to the people, and together, we will build this economy in a way that is sustainable and equitable for future citizens of our planet.


We remain vigilant, and our hearts are with those building a movement in Ferguson, in Queens, NY, and every other community that has been rocked by violence.

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