The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Poverty & Welfare
There has long been a close association between the struggle for civil rights and the fight against poverty in the United States. The drive to dismantle segregation and defeat discrimination has been centered on the need to open the gates of economic opportunity, mostly closed to minorities, women, and other by both governmental and private action.
March 10, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report today that found that 1.5 million children in the U.S. experienced homelessness at least once in a given year.
The report, which analyzes data from 2005 and 2006, also examines the impact of homelessness on children's education and health. Typically, homeless children lead extremely difficult lives because they do not have access to privacy or health care and often attend school infrequently.
The report recommends that local, state and federal governments take action in order to prevent and end child homelessness. For example, the report suggests that the federal government set aside a third of housing program funding specifically for homeless families and families who are at risk of homelessness. In addition, state interagency councils on homelessness handling homelessness should make family homelessness a priority.
February 20, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
The recently enacted economic recovery plan will provide some much needed relief to millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet during the recession, particularly unemployed people.
The plan extends unemployment benefits up to an additional 33 weeks for workers who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits, and increases weekly unemployment checks by $25 through the end of 2009. In addition, food stamp benefits will be increased by 13.6% starting in April.
Economists say increasing funding for both unemployment benefits and food stamps will have an immediate stimulative effect on the economy since those receiving the aid will likely spend it quickly.
In addition, 46 states are facing huge budget deficits over the next three years and have been struggling to continue providing welfare and health care assistance to low-income and unemployed people. Under the plan, states will get nearly $5 billion so they can continue to help low-income families through the federal welfare assistance program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Currently, about 4 million people receive assistance through the program. Another $87 billion will go to states to help them continue to provide health care assistance through Medicaid.
February 19, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Movies and music can be powerful reflections of our times, past and present, and tell stories that inform and empower millions of people in ways other media cannot. This week, we highlight four Oscar-nominated films that have found compelling ways to tell stories about civil and human rights. The Oscars will be shown on TV this Sunday, February 22.
"Trouble the Water," a documentary that tells the story of the devastation Hurricane Katrina caused through the eyes of a couple from New Orleans' 9th ward, has been nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary Feature category.
The documentary, directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, uses footage filmed by Kimberly Roberts, an aspiring rapper known as Black Kold Madina, and her husband during the hurricane and chronicles their lives in the aftermath of the storm. The Roberts were unable to leave the city and captured the storm as it hit one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city.
By combining the Roberts' footage with archival news footage, the documentary draws attention to the disproportionate impact the hurricane had on New Orleans' poorer residents and the inability of the federal and state governments to respond effectively to the crisis.
Healthy Food Advocates Push for Better Standards in Reauthorization of Federal Child Nutrition Programs
February 13, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
With the number of overweight children between the ages of six and 11 having more than doubled in the past 20 years, healthy food advocates are urging Congress to make sure that federal child nutrition programs are updated to meet the challenges of providing healthy meals to the nation's children.
February 9, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
As the economic recession deepens and more people are laid off of work, welfare assistance for families is failing to pick up the slack.
January 28, 2009 - Posted by Corrine Yu
A national poll conducted for Half in Ten after the November 2008 election shows strong support for the fundamental goal of the Half in Ten campaign – cutting poverty in the United States in half within 10 years.
The poll also shows a strong consensus across ideological, age, and race divides that "the negative consequences of poverty" affect everyone rather than "mostly those living in poor neighborhoods." A full 52 percent of respondents said that either they or someone in their immediate family was poor, up from 36 percent who answered that way in a 2001 poll from Pew Research Center.
These numbers show that solving the problem of poverty is a vital part of economic recovery and a matter of core importance to the nation – and not just about solving economic problems for low-income Americans.
January 28, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Tonight, by a vote of 244-188, the House of Representatives passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (PDF), a bill that lawmakers hope will help stimulate the struggling economy.
January 18, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at 1963 March on Washington.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was as committed to economic justice as he was to ending segregation.
And yet, Dr. King's speeches on economic justice and eradicating poverty are still not as well known as his speeches on racial discrimination. These speeches, about helping the poorest Americans, regardless of race, speak to problems that the nation is still struggling with 40 years later.
As the nation deals with rising unemployment and an ongoing debate about the need for an economic recovery plan, we have an opportunity to take second look at some of these lesser-known speeches:
January 16, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
On January 14, the U.S. House of Representatives voted (289-139) to reauthorize and expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover an additional four million uninsured children.
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