Today, my colleague (TFOC Coordinator, Karen Kraut) burst into UFE's communications spread with excitement beaming from her every pore:
Maz! I just opened Yahoo to check my personal email, and this was on the front page. It's a video about income inequality! This is really mainstream. Can you believe it?
UFE has been working to raise public awareness of economic inequality for 15 years, so this is certainly call for excitement. Yahoo News' video on income inequality, the first in their "Remake America" series, is accessible and deserving of the most views you can help to generate.
They includes testimonials from struggling people, many of which may sound familiar to you:
I was making a good living. That's basically disappeared.
Back in the day, you had good paying jobs. Now...it's minimum wage. Who can live off $10 an hour?
It doesn't matter how hard I work. I work hard..but I don't get anywhere.
We're still making less, but the prices of everything are skyrocketing.
How do I pay for groceries?
I tried to refinance my home, so I could keep my house, and I was told that I didn't make enough money.
They use social math to place income inequality into context—a messaging strategy that we at UFE regularly employ. The average U.S. worker's salary ($49,445) could pay for 10 months of health insurance, 5 months of college tuition, and buy 10 percent of an average home. On the other hand, the average Fortune 500 CEO's salary ($11.4 million) could pay for 300 years of health insurance, 200 years of college tuition and buy 34.5 new homes.
They connect the dots between economic inequality and the deterioration of other indicators of social wellness. (For more, read The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.)
One interviewee expressed a sentiment that most of us likely share:
I think the most unfair thing is that the people who need help the most are the ones that aren't being listened to.
Perhaps most important of all, they use this video to address just that by asking these regular folks what they think the solutions are.
Some ideas are to reform the existing system: "The rich are gonna be rich. You want to fix that? Get rid of loopholes, fix the tax code!"
Others desire more unity: "I went down to Occupy Wall Street...just to see, does our country have the guts to go through the change that is going to be required?" UFE fully supports the Occupy Movement. We encourage all people to support Occupy Wall Street and their local occupations. Here's how you can get started.
One gent noted with an air of giddiness, "This is an issue that, for the first time in the 30 years that this has been happening, could really have an effect on the election." It could. But as flawed and corrupted by corporate money as our political system is, we'll have to raise the awareness of millions more and mobilize an unprecedented vote for candidates that will challenge this devastatingly unequal status quo.
There is no single thing we can do to bring about the change we need; there are a lot of things we must do on as constant a basis as we can manage. Sharing this video is one of them.
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