September 14, 2023
Child poverty, VOCA funding, voter registration drives, and more ways to help!
Contact all members of Congress:
By phone: (202) 224-3121
By email: democracy.io
By Resistbot: Resist.bot
Contact White House or other federal agencies:
CHILDHOOD POVERTY DOUBLED LAST YEARS
In 2021, during the pandemic, Congress approved monthly payments of up to $300 per child, per month. Studies have shown that the monthly payments . . . helped to significantly reduce child poverty and child hunger in the country. The monthly federal expanded child tax credit (CTC) payments stopped at the end of the year when the legislation to extend them did have enough support in Congress. As a result, child poverty doubled last year. We’ve shown that we can reduce childhood poverty; it is within our reach. Regardless of the source of that poverty, we the people can help alleviate at least part of the negative consequences for children. Let’s contact our MoCs and tell them that we support this kind of legislation that can help improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT (VOCA) FUNDING UNDER ATTACK
The federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants, which provide lifesaving services to millions of victims each year, is facing cuts that will likely cut or curtail services to agencies all over the country. The proposed amount for VOCA grants in the FY24 budget is a 40% cut from the current amount. Places like National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is joining with National Alliance to End Sexual Violence (NAESV) to let people know that at, “this proposed funding level, thousands of victim service providers across the nation will be forced to lay off staff, cut programs, and/or shut their doors. The cuts will fall hardest on the smallest programs, particularly programs in rural communities, low-income communities, and Communities of Color. The cuts mean that victims in danger and crisis will have nowhere to turn.” While their day of action has passed, we can still contact our MoCs about maintaining the VOCA funding levels and use this toolkit.
RESIST THE GUTTING OF WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
The Republican war on higher education is taking an ominous turn in West Virginia, where the leadership of the state’s flagship university is now proposing devastating program and staff cuts – discontinuing 32 majors and firing 7% of the faculty. Along with deep reductions in graduate studies, this would include the entire World Languages Department - WVU students would no longer be able to get a foreign language bachelor’s degree, the first flagship university in the country not to offer such a program. These measures come after years of falling enrollment, financial mismanagement by President Gordon Gee and university leadership, and public funding cuts by the legislature created a $45 million budget shortfall. If this disinvestment in the humanities succeeds in West Virginia, other states may follow suit. The WVU Board of Governors is set to vote on these recommendations on Friday. Let’s contact them via Special Assistant to the Board of Governors Valerie Lopez (Valerie.firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask them to reject these cuts. We can also share with them this open letter by WVU professors, or use it for talking points.
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN LOUISIANA ELECTIONS
The odds are tough, but the stakes are high in the first round of elections in Louisiana on October 14th. The leading GOP candidate for governor in the all-party primary is Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, who has long worked to undermine city control of their own affairs and criminal justice reform and has repeatedly singled out Black public officials and areas with high populations of Black residents for attack . He tried to withhold flood protection funds after city officials suggested they wouldn’t prioritize enforcing the states’ abortion bans and promised to “bend [New Orleans] to his will” while championing unrestrained, unaccountable policing. Former state transportation secretary Shawn Wilson is the leading Democrat in the race and he’s in for a tough fight, as are those opposing an effort to ban private funding for elections and write an election fraud conspiracy theory into state law. Let’s do what we can to help before early voting starts September 30th. We can sign up here to volunteer with the Power Coalition for Equity & Justice or sign on for a phonebank shift with Organize Louisiana here.
RUNNING VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES
With approximately 4 million Americans turning 18 each year, there will be many more eligible voters before the 2024 election. Before we can get out the vote, we must register the voters. Fortunately, The Civics Center is running some great trainings in early October about how to run voter registration drives at high schools: Let’s take a look at what they offering and see what is possible in our own communities.
SOME - PASS LEGISLATION TO BAN TAXES ON MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS AND DIAPERS
Jessica Craven, in her wonderful good news Sunday round-up, reported that Texas became the latest state to ban taxes on menstrual products and diapers. There are still 20 states that charge taxes on menstrual products and 28 states that charge taxes on diapers. Let’s check our state’s current policies and, if our state has not already done so, let’s ask our state legislators to pass legislation to eliminate taxes on these essential products.
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