It's an exciting time here at United for a Fair Economy, excitement we are now proud to share with our many supporters across the nation: on December 13, United for a Fair Economy adopted a new, five-year strategic plan!
This plan is the product of 12 months and countless hours of thoughtful deliberations, listening to our allies and supporters, three retreats and one epic blizzard.
Here’s the story of the journey that took us there:
At the outset, one of the things we learned as we interviewed key stakeholders was that UFE has accomplished its original mission: raising awareness about the dangers of concentrated wealth and power. Yes, inequality is now part of the mainstream dialogue. Needless to say, many others in the fight for economic justice helped, but you and United for a Fair Economy had a direct role in getting the word out there that economic inequality is rising—dramatically—and hurting all of us. Indeed, the President of the United States refers to economic inequality as "the defining challenge of our time."
So what, then, is our role now? It's a bit of a rhetorical question because UFE has long done much more than raise awareness. For over a decade, thanks to the generous support and partnership of thousands of supporters—like you!—UFE has engaged directly in major policy debates, provided trainings for organizers across the nation, published illuminating reports highlighting the true consequences of economic inequality, and much more. But it is a good question to ask as we chart the most effective pathway forward.
A careful choice of words in our newly-minted mission statement sheds some light here. We are now in this fight to do much more than raise awareness about extreme inequality—we are in this fight to challenge it. Here’s our new mission in full:
United for a Fair Economy challenges the concentration of wealth and power that corrupts democracy, deepens the racial divide and tears communities apart. We use popular economics education, trainings, and creative communications to support social movements working for a resilient, sustainable and equitable economy.
Awareness is still an important part of the work, but the emphasis is now on actively supporting social movements for greater equality.
We’ve asked some hard questions over the past year. Where can UFE have the greatest impact in the fight against extreme inequality? Who is it that we should be working with? How can we support them and be strong partners in their struggles?
Asking these questions and reflecting upon them helped us decide who we’ll be working with next. Our choice, simply put, is individuals, groups, and populations on the front lines of the fight for greater equality: low-wage worker networks and state-based tax fairness organizing.
Why low-wage workers? Because whether organizing for a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave, striking in front of fast food restaurants, or flash-mobbing in a WalMart, low-wage workers are the cutting edge in the fight for economic change. And—perhaps most importantly—because low-wage workers and those living in states under assault from the Right deserve a better deal in this country.
Why state-based tax fairness? Because the terms of the national debates are being shaped in the states first. We'll provide trainings, resources, networking opportunities and more to our 22 partner organizations working on the ground to push back against the bad stuff, but also to push forward bold policies that can inspire others around the nation.
And there's a clear role for members of UFE's Responsible Wealth network: supporting the fights of our low-wage worker and tax fairness networks, speaking out in support of living wage fights, against senseless tax cuts for the wealthy, and more.
There’s a lot more inside our new strategic plan. For example, specifics about how we will engage and support these constituencies. And in 2014, we’ll be sharing the entirety of the plan, so consider this a sneak peek.
For now, I’d like to offer an invitation for you to join with us at United for a Fair Economy as we see where this road map takes us in 2014 and beyond–challenging the concentrated wealth and power that corrupt our democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. Not only can we make a better world. We must.
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