An Open Letter to the Prosecutor in the Case of Jordan Davis

Rinku Sen, president and executive director of Race Forward, wrote an open letter to the prosecutor, Angela Corey, and the legal community in connection with the Jordan Davis killing. The Alliance for a Just Society is proud to be among those adding their names to the list of signers in support. Please click the link at the end of the letter and add your name:JD km crop

We write this letter out of our deep commitment to racial equity, as well as to the principles of fairness upon which this country was built. The trial of the People of Florida v. Michael Dunn underscores the need for our legal system to understand and address racial bias. We are not all attorneys, so we will not offer a detailed legal analysis here. What we can offer, as veterans of racial equity efforts nationwide, is some reflection on the racial dimensions of the case and how they can be addressed constructively. Read more

State of the Union Has the Right Themes, Action Must Follow

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President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 28. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night: low-key compared to other addresses, determined and occasionally defiant.

He touched on many of the priorities being worked on by the Alliance for a Just Society this year, including mentioning that nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. He didn’t mention that 23 states have not accepted Medicaid expansion for their most vulnerable residents.

The President called for immigration reform to be passed, a solution for college graduates trapped by student loan debt, he pushed for a federal minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour.

“Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty,” he said.
Private businesses shouldn’t wait for a government mandate, but instead follow the lead of giant Costco and much smaller Punch Pizza and give employees a raise. Read more

2013 Job Gap Report Released Nationwide

Fast food workers are taking to the picket line throughout the country. SEIU and other unions are helping these efforts, but many strikes are happening in places without any union presence. Low-wage work is simply not enough for families and individuals to thrive, to plan for their future, and most times, simply not enough to live.

Spike in Percentage of Low-Wage Jobs

Underemployment, ‘overemployment’ (working more than1 job) and the threats to public benefits in D.C. and in many states is adding more weight atop many populations tracked into low-wage employment. The trend is troubling.

“America’s Changing Economy: Searching for Work that Pays in the New Low-Wage Job Market, is the 15th installment of the Alliance’s Job Gap Report.  It has grown from a Northwest regional perspective and this year marks our first national report. True to the Alliance’s mission and focus, we released the report in 9 affiliated states and in NYC. You can find ways to get involved, graphics to share and all the reports at:

www.thejobgap.org

And download the national report here: http://thejobgap.org/national-report/

Read more

Sins of Omission Hurt Workers of Color

The U.S. has made a dangerous shift to a low-wage economy where people of color disproportionately hold low-wage jobs. Coupled with an expanding Job Gap in many states, Jobs created by infrastructure investments generally pay relatively well and are accessible to individuals without a college education. Adhering to federal contracting rules and can ensure an increase in the number of living wage jobs available for everybody.

Building highways, bridges, and tunnels creates jobs– good jobs– jobs that put food on the table, and money in the pockets of those who desperately need it. Read more

The Symposium in Review: #CellBlocks and #Borderstops… #Human Beings

Re-Posted from the Institute for Pragmatic Practice (www.pragmaticpractice.org)

In the last four decades, mass incarceration and immigration control in the United States has skyrocketed. Our nation has become an engine thatIPPImage pulls people from their communities, removing them from the very fabric that gives them their humanity. Over-policing of everyday lives has made the simple act of walking down one’s street a criminal act. The criminalization of communities is evermore presenting itself as a system of violence against them.

The Institute for Pragmatic Practice held an incredible symposium October 17-18, that brought voice to those affected by incarceration.  Cell Blocks and Border Stops: Transformation in the age of dehumanization brought faces to those who have been invisible behind walls and in communities that are left behind. Read more

Pushing Back Against the Criminalization of Everyday Life.

In the past four decades, mass incarceration and immigration control in the United States has skyrocketed. Today, the U.S. incarcerates more of its population than any other country in the world – at rates unmatched in modern history. Alliance.for.a.Just.Society_Pushing Back_FINAL

More than seven million people are under control of the criminal justice system. The U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, but we have almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. China, which has four times more people than the United States, is a distant second in incarceration numbers, with 1.6 million people in prison.

With the increase in private prisons – driven by making profits for their investors – we are seeing an increase in the criminalization of everyday life.

Read our new report –

Communities Under Attack: Pushing Back Against the Criminalization of Everyday Life.

There Are Other Ways to Enroll in the ACA: But That Website Mess Needs a Careful Fix

Monday the President said that there was no “sugarcoating it.” The ACA rollout is riddled with problems , and live from the Rose Garden, Mr. Obama defended the ACA and pledged a major effort to fix the site.http://allianceforajustsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Twitter_Avatar54_7.jpg

The centerpiece for Health Care Reform was to be a web site called healthcare.gov. Everyone was going to go on the site, enter some information about themselves and their health insurance needs, and be taken to a place where they could enroll. However, there are other ways for individuals to sign up, to get covered.

Consumers also can go to health centers and hospitals and get help signing up. If anyone needs to find local resources they should visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov for further information. Read more

When Living Your Life is Called a Crime

 

Millions of people have become casualties of the prevailing system of criminalization. Entire communities of people must be deemed “throw-away” or “castaways” in order to gain maximum profits and drive a robust free- market that exists beyond the realm of ethics and humanity. These communities are almost always low-income and disproportionately, communities of color.

The influence of the profit-driven in our legal system and the systems that feed it must continue this trend in order to maintain their financial gains. Gains made at the expense of millions of Americans.

The  Institute for Pragmatic Practice, Union Theological Seminary and the Alliance for a Just Society hosted Cell Blocks and Border Stops in NYC. Read more

Caldwell, ID City Council Asked to Move Payday Lenders Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Community and ICAN Push Council to Limit Industry From Preying on the Poor

 

“With the average payday loan in Idaho carrying an interest rate of 350% and with the average borrower taking out 7 payday loans to pay off the initial loan”, 20131004_101226predatory loan businesses continue to swarm into our state.  Last year alone, payday loans accounted for a negative economic impact of $1 BILLION! http://www.insightcced.org/uploads/assets/Net%20Economic%20Impact%20of%20Payday%20Lending.pdf  This is money that our communities lost, nationwide.

Volunteers and members of Idaho Community Action Network went into the neighborhoods of Caldwell and gathered 400 signatures from families who both see and personally experience the impact of payday and title loan businesses.  The canvassers met families; families who have lost their only vehicle; families who lost their home; their job and even their children, because they needed help.  They learned about loved ones who died owing a debt to a predatory lender.   Read more