Tag Archives: Economic Justice
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Oh SNAP! Preserving SNAP in the New Congress

Over the course of the L’Taken season (which just ended this past weekend), participants learned about the different government programs that comprise the social safety net and how all of these vital programs work together to help our country’s most vulnerable. One of these programs is the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which provides nourishment for those living in poverty.

SNAP is a vital program that works: because of SNAP, 4.7 million Americas were lifted out of poverty in 2011.  According to 2013 data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), over 49 million Americans lived in a household that faced difficulty affording enough food in 2013. 15.8 million children struggled with food insecurity issues in the past year. Additionally, 50% of U.S children will receive SNAP benefits at some point before they reach the age of 2092% of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes that are below the poverty line, and two fifths of SNAP households are below half of the poverty line. SNAP helped over 46 million low-income Americans afford a nutritionally adequate diet around the end of 2014.

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Cities and States Standing Up For Working Families with Paid Sick Days

Over 40 million Americans do not currently have access to paid sick days. We need to take action to ensure that more people do not have to make the difficult choice between going to work and caring for a sick loved one (or themselves), and we have our work cut out for us!

During the State of the Union, President Obama called on states and cities to pass legislation that would allow workers to earn paid sick time, and proposed that Congress give all staff six weeks of leave after the arrival or a new child. He also called on Congress to support Department of Labor funding to help states study and explore how to get their own paid leave programs. States and cities have been following this momentum: five cities across the country currently have paid sick days laws. And, over 2015, paid sick days laws will also go into effect in three more California cities and six more in New Jersey

Momentum to pass paid sick days legislation is building as legislators and advocates are working on active campaigns in 20 states and cities around the country. Read more…

As Snow Covers the Northeast, Keeping Those Experiencing Homelessness In Mind

Though I did live in Atlanta for the first few years of my life, the majority of my winters have been spent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. And in Boston, we are used to snow; despite my consistent efforts at the “snow day dance,” I had fewer than 10 snow days while I was in school

So yes, my home state is used to snow, but this winter has been far outside the norm. There have been over 63 inches of snow in the month of February, making it the snowiest month in Boston’s history – and February, the shortest month of the year, isn’t even over yet.

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Queen Esther Denouncing Haman

Purim as a Call to Action to End Economic Inequality

I have always loved Purim. I remember eating hamentaschen in my religious school classes (deciding amongst the apricot, poppyseed, chocolate or strawberry flavors), playing bean bag toss at the Purim carnival, and waiving the groger enthusiastically as my rabbis, dressed up in costumes to accompany the theme of that year’s Purim spiel, recited the name of Haman, the wicked villain who tried to kill the Jews.

I remember feeling so honored when I got to wear my own costume as part of the Purim spiel and read the megillah the year after I became a Bat Mitzvah. We are taught that Purim is a time for “feasting and merrymaking” (Megillat Esther 9:22). However, there are also a number of traditional obligations we have as Jews in addition to feasting and merrymaking, which remind us of the struggles for justice that continue year round. Read more…

Sign reading "no more low wages"

Momentum Builds Toward National Policies for Worker Justice

Walmart, the largest employer in America, announced yesterday that they would raise company wide wages to a minimum of $10 an hour in 2016 for 500,000 workers. This boost can be attributed to many factors: a tightening job market, lower unemployment, higher turnover. However, Walmart’s CEO has been very outspoken about his desire to improve the company’s labor practices. Our Movement has long advocated for equal and fair wages for workers, most recently helping to pass a minimum wage bill in Nebraska in November. To see such a large organization setting the precedent for increasing the minimum wage is encouraging, as it will put pressure on other large employers, such as McDonald’s and Target, to do the same.

At its current rate of $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage is worth about 23% less than it was worth in the late 1960s. Minimum wage workers, on average, make a mere $15,080 a year; not enough to live on or to be considered as a living wage. Since workers are not paid enough, workers have to turn to federal safety net programs since they’re paid too little at work to make ends meet on their own.

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Children

Lifting Children Out Of Poverty

Child poverty is a national scourge that must end in our generation. We must raise our voices to ensure that federal funding directed towards ending children poverty be increased to ameliorate a recent decline. Earlier this month, the Children’s Defense Fund released a report with new findings this issue, providing a key illustration of just how rampant this problem truly is.

In the United States of America, there are 14.7 million poor children and 6.5 million extremely poor children. This means that the number of poor children (14.7 million) is greater than the combined populations of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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The Moral Call to Pass the Healthy Families Act

On Thursday, Senator Patty Murray (WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), introduced the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932), a bill that would ensure seven paid sick days for all American workers.

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.  People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually.

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Jewish Disability Awareness Month Logo February 2015

We Must Preserve Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Imagine suffering a devastating injury and becoming paralyzed from the waist down. Now imagine that you provide the primary source of income for your family and that you can no longer go to work because of your injury. What will you do?

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