Tag Archives: Economic Justice

Double Booked: Low Wages Just Aren’t Ok

By Linda Williams

Last week, I went car shopping.

Just like most people I need a car to get around, but I also need a car to do my job. As a home care worker, I’m required to run errands for my clients. Sometimes I need to take them to appointments of do their shopping. Doing all that on the bus just isn’t practical for me or my clients. Most of the people I work for can only pay for a set number of hours of assistance and if I spend all that time on the bus, important things don’t get done.

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Champions of Change: Re-Entry and Employment

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the White House event, Champions of Change: Re-Entry and Employment. The event honored 16 Americans doing extraordinary work in their local communities to facilitate employment opportunities for individuals formerly involved in the criminal justice system. Attendees heard from inspiring speakers and two panels featuring the “champions.” For advocates and federal officials, it was an opportunity to take a look at best practices and local success stories in this critical area. Read more…

Equal Pay Is Essential for Everyone

There is no shortage of rhetoric from American politicians about the value of work. The problem is that far too many people are working as hard as ever, only to find that they do not make as much as their colleagues for doing the same work. The wage gap is an unfortunate reality for a significant number of American women.

On average, a woman presently makes 77 cents to every dollar a man makes in America and for women of color the situation is even more drastic. It is estimated that African-American women make 64 cents for every dollar a man makes, while for Hispanic women the figure drops to 54 cents. Women are now the primary wage earners in more families than ever before. This means that millions of people are depending on the wages of women for the basic necessities of living.

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When Money Equals Influence, Influence Equals Power

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of Citizens United in the landmark case Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee. This decision meant that there would be no limit on independent spending by private corporations to organizations that clearly support but do not coordinate with specific candidates. These organizations have been termed Super PACs. Essentially, corporations are seen through the eyes of the court as people, with the ability to donate however much they see fit. This amount was astronomical in the 2012 presidential election ($567 million). Read more…

Crying Out Against Homelessness

By Rabbi Benjamin Zeidman

A couple weeks ago, my son turned one year old. Before he was born I thought I knew what it meant to worry about the future. Now, I realize that “naïve” is a nice way to describe me just over a year ago. For all my best intentions, I didn’t have a clue.

We live in New York City, which means we live in the largest city in the country. With more than eight million people, it is twice as large as the next largest city (Los Angeles). That means we live in the city which is home to the largest population of homeless people in America: At least 53,615 as of January, with more than 22,000 of them children.

In a city like this one, my son encounters evidence of homelessness several times a day. As he grows more and more aware of his surroundings, it won’t be long until he’s asking the most difficult questions about the things he sees. So now I’m worried in a way I’ve never been before about the kind of world my son will grow up in. And I’m especially concerned that when he looks around, he sees himself in a world that strives for justice, equality and possibility. Read more…

Help the Needy, Increase the Minimum Wage

America is called the land of opportunity, but upward mobility is much more of a challenge in 2014 than it was in past decades.  Wealth is becoming ever more concentrated in the hands of the one percent while wages in the middle are becoming stagnant.  Further compounding this problem is the fact that the minimum wage has become dated—it does not rise with inflation or increased living costs.  The current federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour–its value is so low that it cannot keep a single parent with one child out of poverty.  For the countless individuals living on the minimum wage, any chance of advancement or prosperity can seem impossible.  Read more…

A Reminder for Engagement

We sit in a finely furnished room, all in comfortable chairs, around a wooden table. Dressed in business attire, we position ourselves in a relatively comfortable way, a way that jointly exhibits our determination and professionalism. It is when we begin sharing stories, though, that the most vital characteristic we share surfaces: compassion.

As I observe most of the lobby visit we are having, I take notes on key points. There was one statement that reached me like a punch to the stomach, made by a congressional staffer. She said: “I can’t imagine that.” That is in part a caring statement, but is also actually part of the problem. The lack of knowledge of what it is like to live in poverty, to go hungry, is something that should be used not as a way to sadly mention pain and move on, but as a hint at the necessity of mobilization. Read more…

Double Booked: A Day to Remember  

What a day!

After more than 80 blog entries on Double Booked, including nearly 40 faith leaders writing, we were more than ready for  yesterday’s White House Summit on Working Families.  Double Booked made a splash! The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism was honored to bring 40 moral and religious activists to the Summit, establishing a strong faith presence.

Reform Movement group shot 2

The Summit also displayed five posters from Double Booked and included over 20 Double Booked slides in an ongoing slide show on display.

Sarah and posters Read more…