Tag Archives: Economic Justice
Support abortion access

For Texas, Reproductive Justice is a Numbers Game

By Megan Sims

If I drive east from the house I grew up in for five minutes, I will go by an abortion clinic. If I drive west from the house I grew up in for five hours, I will be in Lubbock, a moderately sized city, home to Texas Tech University and the economic hub of the largest contiguous cotton-growing region in the country. One-fifth of the city’s population lives in poverty. Read more…

The Taxing Challenge of Lifting Americans Out of Poverty

Our Jewish values encourage us to advocate for systems that can lift people out of poverty. Jewish history also provides us with an example for helping the needy. During Talmudic times, much of tzedakah (justice) was done though tax-financed, community-run programs that helped those in needed, paralleling the entitlement security that we fight for and continue to fight for today. Through the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), we can help provide for individuals in need through the tax system, a structure already in place. We need to ensure that this benefit does not just exist, but that the benefits will lift families out of poverty.

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Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay

Wage Discrimination Continues to Cast a Shadow

Even in 2015, equal pay for equal work for women is not a reality in the United States and it’s no different for female professional soccer players. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) only pays its players between $6,000 and $30,000 per year, while Major League Soccer (MLS) players earn a minimum salary of $50,000 per year. These low salaries act as a serious deterrent to players starting the game. Jazmine Reeves, 2014 Rookie of the Year for the NWSL’s Boston Breakers, had to leave the world of professional soccer because she was unable to get by on her $11,000 salary (that’s less than annual earnings on the U.S. minimum wage!).
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Combatting Injustices in the Public School System

Although it is summer, as stationary stores and commercials tell us, it’s already time to start thinking about the fall and what the school year brings along with it. As we sharpen pencils and preemptively pack our backpacks, it’s hard not to take a moment to reflect on why we go through this ritual every year. Education is seen as a pathway to the American dream, and is key to lifting Americans out of poverty.

About 20% of our country’s children live in poverty, and this rate is further exacerbated when looking at children of color. 38% of African American children, 36.8% of American Indian and Native Alaskan Children, and 33% of Hispanic children are living in poverty, showing how disproportionately certain communities are impacted. For all children, education is especially crucial to create opportunities, but for many students of color, this promise is not necessarily their reality. A child of color is over twice as likely to be poor as a white child. Millions of students go to schools that are underfunded and that lack important resources. Schools where the majority of students are African American are two times as likely to have teachers who are less experienced than a school with a majority of white teachers, which therefore leads to even more inequalities in the classroom.

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Workers protesting low wages with a sign saying "Hard work deserves fair pay!"

Learning from the Past to Create a More Economically Just Future

In this week’s Torah portion, Devarim (and the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy), Moses begins his recounting of the Israelites’ forty-year-long journey in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 1:1-21). Moses’ reflection on the past as the Israelites’ time of wandering comes starts to end offers a timely lesson for us to take stock of where we are in our journey towards economic justice.

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Employee denied pregnancy accommodations

Continuing the Call for Pregnant Workers’ Rights

In June, we applauded the reintroduction of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or PWFA (S. 1512/H.R. 2654), which gained bipartisan support for the first time since it was originally introduced in 2012. When the bill was reintroduced in June, only the Senate version of the bill was bipartisan—but now, the House bill is bipartisan as well!

Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO-06) joined the House bill as its first Republican co-sponsor. In the Senate, Senators Ayotte (R-NH) and Heller (R-NV) joined Senators Casey (D-PA) and Shaheen (D-NH) as lead sponsors, helping to lead the way in support of pregnant workers. This bicameral, bipartisan co-sponsorship is significant progress, meaning PWFA has a much stronger chance of moving forward in this Congress. Read more…

Workers protesting low wages with a sign saying "Hard work deserves fair pay!"

A Minimum Wage of Dignity

By Elvera Gurevich

At the ripe age of 20, I have spent almost a quarter of my life already in the workforce and have always worked for a minimum wage salary or less. As a student, this salary is “do-able;” the money I make usually goes to optional expenses like gas in my car or going out to eat with friends. My parents are still paying my rent, my tuition, my health insurance, my phone bill, etc. Eventually, I will be responsible for paying these expenses, but hopefully that will be post-graduation and with a job making more than a minimum wage salary. Read more…

Forever Wandering in a (Food) Desert?

Many of us take grocery stores for granted. We see them on our commutes home or we live within an easy walk or drive and also likely have a place near our workplaces that we can run to as well.

In some areas, this is not the case. A food desert is an area where at least 1/3 of the area’s residents are over a mile from the grocery store, and over 20% live below the poverty line. As grocery stores start to make smaller profits, they become more likely to leave those areas, leaving individuals with fewer resources for healthy food options. Individuals also have to travel for longer distances in order to get the food that they need, making it more challenging to access healthy foods. When grocery stores close, the closings can turn the surrounding area into a food desert.

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