Category: Economic Justice

January 16, 2019 Ayanna Albertson

Voices of Everyday Leaders

As spring graduation draws near, college seniors are faced with several time-sensitive responsibilities. From securing their grades, to paying graduation fees and all remaining tuition balances, to the grueling process […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Willie Francois

And the Young Shall Save Us So many economic protections are at stake with this new Congress. The most consequential midterm elections of our lifetime awaited our robust participation last […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Maya Boddie

Last week, Community Change partners from across the country united in Washington, D.C. on the campus of Gallaudet University, to share, learn, and discuss what organizing will look like as […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Tomicka Robinson

Roquesha Oneal is an everyday leader, a woman of fortitude and generosity. She resides in Detroit with her 15-year-old child with a disability and enjoys visits with her two adult […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Willie Francois

Cutting “Food Stamps” is Child Abuse Every Sunday Jose “Frankie” Benjamin-Nay, an 18-year old Puerto Rican-American, darkens the doors of Mount Zion Baptist Church to provide technical support for the […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Ayanna Albertson

Beyond the Ballots – Keeping the Momentum The U.S. midterms was a big deal for many communities and candidates alike. Whether people agreed with the overall decisions made within their […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Wandra Green

SNAP Benefits Guarantees Family’s Food Thirty-seven-year-old LeAnn is married with five children and five stepchildren (who live with their grandmother). She has a Master’s degree in business administration but can […]

We All Matter

Ayanna Albertson

I’ve only had the chance to vote in two presidential elections: 2012 and 2016. My first election was monumental. I was a part of making history. I remember the overwhelming […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Bobbi Dempsey

PA Group Strives to Bust Myths About SNAP—and People Who Use It Lisa Raditz cringes when she overhears some of the comments people make about SNAP recipients based on common […]

Supporting Food Entrepreneurs for Equity and Stronger Communities

Christen Hill

We can strengthen our communities by creating food systems that create new jobs and businesses through the people living here. DREAM (Dreaming Out Loud’s Ready for Entrepreneurship Accelerator Modules) is […]

Column: Voices of Everyday Leaders

Wandra Green

I, like so many Americans of my era, believed… After 12 and a half years in an often stress-filled role as an associate director in public relations at a local […]

Column: Voices of Everyday Leaders

Tomicka Robinson

Why we vote I’ve been asked a lot lately “why I knock on doors” to encourage people to vote. Mainly because of my background in social justice work. I’ve used […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Melissa Chadburn

The work of community organizers is daunting. Late nights. Endless knocking on doors. Rallies and protests to protect our healthcare, ensure we all have enough food to eat and keep […]

Women Arrested for Kavanaugh-Related Protest at Manchin’s Office

Bobbi Dempsey

  Despite being led into the street in the middle of the night in handcuffs, a West Virginia woman says speaking up on behalf of sexual assault survivors like herself […]

This housing experiment brought struggling seniors and young families together. Did it work?

Bonnie Page

Genesis, means the beginning and the first. The community of Genesis was the brainchild of the nonprofit organization, MiCasa. It was planned as a purpose driven, intergenerational, affordable housing program, […]

Young voters in Florida state why they are voting this November

Elizabeth Fernandez

I’m speaking to voters at a candidate forum for young voters in Miami on why the November 2018 elections matter to them. Check them out. Be inspired. Let’s unite the […]

What Apple’s $1 trillion value means for working people

Elizabeth Poulos

Last Thursday, it was reported that the wealth of tech-giant Apple had surpassed every other publically traded American firm, setting the record at $1 trillion in value. Many applauded the […]

Returning to Life Outside Prison—Without Food on the Table

Willie Francois

This piece was co-published with Civil Eats Calvin* anticipates walking out of a New Jersey prison next month, hopefully for the last time, eager to live out his responsibilities as […]

In Alaska, Changes To Snap Could Spell Disaster

Jody Ellis

This piece was Co-published with Civil Eats Sarah was born in the Alaskan village of Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) and she spent a good portion of her youth there. […]

Justice for marginalized communities not a factor in filling SCOTUS seat; it’s up to us to vote, voice our concerns now

Alaina Beverly

Whether you care about voting rights, affirmative action, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights and especially a woman’s right to control her own body, filling retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s […]

Bobby and the Center for Community Change

Jeff Parcher

I still recall the moment that I truly entered the world. It was not the instant when the bullets were fired. It was a few minutes later when I was […]

Unarmed & Black: Keith Childress, Jr. remembered, and the growing list of loved ones left behind after police violence

Nissa Tzun

Family, friends and supporters of police violence victim Keith Childress, Jr. demand justice for his murder. His mother, Jacqueline Lawrence, lives in Phoenix, Arizona, which makes advocating for her son difficult, but she has started to meet other families impacted by police violence.

SNAP works and so should Congress

Marcia Dinkins

WASHINGTON D.C.—  The Center for Community Change hosted a partners and leaders convening to discuss strategies and to develop collective actions opposing the harmful cuts proposed in the Farm Bill, […]

With payday loan , Trump again shows he’s not out to help the working class. He’s out to get them.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

During his campaign, and again and again since becoming president, the Tweeter-in-Chief has brashly portrayed himself as “a populist,” a protector of the working class. His style, his rhetoric, and […]

No more #EmptyPlatesEmptyPromises

Marisol Bello

More than 60 mom, dads, seniors and people with disabilities delivered empty plates to the Washington, D.C. office of Texas House Rep. Mike Conaway, author of the Farm Bill, to […]

We need people of color to vote: Here’s how.

Thomas Kennedy

Voting is the most basic and important right an individual has in a democracy. As voters, we elect people to represent our communities and if a majority of voters do […]

Ideas of MLK, RFK still needed today

Dorian Warren

This piece originally published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. When President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty in 1964, his audacious goal was to end poverty in the […]

7 Lessons I learned from the Rust Belt and Appalachia

Stephen Smith

I  am a community organizer in West Virginia. At the end of 2017,  I traveled for a week with friends and colleagues through Appalachia and the Rust Belt, seeking lessons […]

Trump’s budget will take food away from the struggling families, children and the elderly who need it most

Holly Straut-Eppsteiner

Since the release of the 2019 Trump budget, a great deal of attention has focused on its proposal to eliminate half of families’ food assistance benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition […]

Florida gets a second chance to make amends for its racist past

Thomas Kennedy

Back in late 2016, a grassroots coalition of volunteers accomplished a remarkable feat. More than 68,314 petition signatures were collected in Florida, triggering a Supreme Court review on a ballot […]

The GOP #TaxScamBill Is Another Way To Make The Rich Richer On The Backs Of The Poor

Thomas Kennedy

Back in September, Senator John McCain announced in a statement that he could not “in good conscience” vote for the GOP’s healthcare bill, effectively ending Republican efforts to repeal and […]

Thistle and Bee offers dignity, livable wage to women leaving local sex economy

Melonee Gaines

Vulnerable women get a second chance to build a life on their terms creating healthy, healing products

How One Late Paycheck Messed Up My Life

Sharisse Tracy

I know at a deep level that my family lived paycheck to paycheck. A check comes in. We pay our bills. We have no savings to speak of. But it […]


Christen Hill

In two underserved DC communities, there are only three groceries stores to serve 148,000 people.

Investor deposits lessons in financial literacy, freedom for a new generation

Wendi C. Thomas

Despite persistent barriers to black wealth building, Memphis-based fund manager Floyd Tyler says it can be done—and it is

For Code Crew founders, paying a living wage is the right thing to do

Melonee Gaines

The nonprofit trains youth of color to be the next generation of techies and practices the economic justice MLK preached

“SMILF,” Showtime’s New Series, Doesn’t Sugarcoat Single Motherhood

Stephanie Land

Stephanie Land reviews SMILF from the perspective of a single mom who’s been there

A Hurricane Is Never An Excuse To Mock The Poor

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

I remember. I remember because I will always love New Orleans. All the residents of the Gulf Coast, or anyone who loved New Orleans – and who was old enough to remember August 29th, 2005 – has mourned the day ever since.

How Tennessee laws keep ex-offenders from getting good jobs

Wendi C. Thomas

Employees with criminal records don’t make workplaces less safe, yet licensing restrictions bar them from dozens of careers

CHOICES chooses a $15/hour living wage

Wendi C. Thomas

Raising base pay of all employees is ‘just a matter of priorities’ at Memphis reproductive health care organization

EDGE Board signs off on Overton Square Hotel incentives

Wendi C. Thomas

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County EDGE board signed off on tax incentives for a boutique hotel in Overton Square. The Economic Development Growth Engine signed off on $6.1 million […]

Americans Pay The Price When Our Political Institutions Erode

Thomas Kennedy

This article first appeared on the Huffington Post. It is said that compromise is the cornerstone of democracy. If that is indeed the case, American democracy is seriously faltering. The […]

Poverty Is Rampant In The U.S., But We Pretend It’s Not

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

When my older brother and I were in elementary school, the teacher assigned the class to bring a bug into class that was familiar in our neighborhood. My brother, who […]

Why Trump’s Supporters Haven’t Abandoned Him

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Just 100 days into his presidency, Americans no longer expect President Donald Trump to keep the promises that got him elected. He walked back his promises on China, delivered nothing […]

Trump’s Tax Plan Is A Reverse Robin Hood Ploy

Marcella Vitulli

Here’s how Trump’s plan pads the pockets of the rich at the expense of everyday families and seniors.

May Day, May Day! Immigrant workers and low-wage workers unite

Micaela Watts

Struggle to survive on poverty wages builds solidarity among workers

Immigrant Rights Are Workers Rights

Thomas Kennedy

Bad policies that harm working Americans continue to chip away at our aspirations to strive.

Soda Industry vs. Quality Child Care

Center for Community Change

By Chirag Mehta, Senior Policy Advisor, Center for Community Change Coca-Cola and the soda industry at large are pulling out all the stops to fight Santa Fe, New Mexico residents […]

Military Families Serve Our Country. Now It’s Time For Our Country To Serve Military Families.

Sharisse Tracy

As a military spouse, I see firsthand how civilians might think our families are a protected class because our job description is basically to protect America. But we face the […]

Frances Bean Cobain and the Graffiti of Privilege

Alison Stine

A friend saw it, driving in Los Angeles. A billboard for tony fashion line Marc Jacobs, featuring Frances Bean Cobain as the model, had been defaced with graffiti. And then […]

Trickle Down Devastation: A Single Mom Responds to Trump’s Tax Plan

Alison Stine

ATHENS, Ohio – You’re not a single mother. You have a spouse or a partner. You don’t have kids, or if you do, you’re raising them in a two-parent, two-income […]

The case for justice through journalism

Wendi C. Thomas

Reporting has a role to play in economic justice. We’re here to play that role. Economic justice. That’s what brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Memphis in April 1968. […]

Affordable Health Care Repeal: Or How To Steal From The Poor And Give To The Rich

Thomas Kennedy

I know what lack of health care can do to a family in need. About two years ago, my undocumented father was suffering from a form of degenerative arthritis which […]

I Went from Being Homeless to a Full-Time Writer. Trump Wants to End the Programs That Got Me Here.

Stephanie Land

Six years ago, I lived with my then 3-year-old daughter, Mia, in a studio apartment. During the day I worked full-time as a maid, cleaning the houses of wealthy people. […]

Potential Deferred

Fred McKissack Jr.

Like the rest of the country, Gary, Indiana, is wrestling with what was, what is, and what may come

Trump Voters and I Have One Thing in Common: We’re Scared of Losing Medicaid

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

I recently read about a county in Kentucky that is typical of the kinds of depressed white communities that have dominated the news since Trump’s election. Owsley County is 83 […]

Welcome to A Prairie Homeboy Companion

Fred McKissack Jr.

Welcome to A Prairie Homeboy Companion, a weekly blog exploring progressive activism in the Midwest, as well as an occasional platform for my own thoughts on pop culture, politics, and […]

Report: Increasing Minimum Wage Saves Lives

Fred McKissack Jr.

Tuesday’s “Day of Disruption” walkout by thousands of low-income workers underscores that the Fight for $15 movement is undeterred by the change of administration. Earlier this month, voters approved minimum-wage […]

‘Saturday Night Live’ Skit Has People Talking About Who and What Really is Dividing Us

Wendi C. Thomas

Originally published by The Undefeated. Did a Saturday Night Live sketch last week hint at a future hard to envision in today’s bitter political climate — a future in which […]

What Living in a High-Poverty Neighborhood Taught Me About Protests

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Photo credits to Dorret.  Originally published in TalkPoverty.  About 13 years ago, I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was trying to make ends meet as a freelance writer.  […]

Home Alone: A Single Mother Tries to Navigate Missoula’s Child Care Crisis

Stephanie Land

Photo Credits to Brian Hart. Originally published by the Missoula Independent. My life as a single mother has often meant looking up, helpless, waving goodbye like Wile E. Coyote, after […]

Let’s Guarantee Every High School Student a Summer Job

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Photo credits to Flazingo Photos.  Originally posted on the Huffington Post.  In New York City, where the summer job program for high school students is run on a neighborhood lotto […]

Conference connects young people as next generation of leaders

Angela Pupino

During the last weekend in July, I found renewed hope and optimism for the future of our country. I joined 70 students from across the country who are interning this […]

And #StillIRise: #PeoplesConvention takes over Pittsburgh

Wendi C. Thomas

Wendi C. Thomas is a writing fellow for the Center for Community Change. [View the story “And #StillIRise: #PeoplesConvention takes over Pittsburgh” on Storify]

Why Good Jobs Are Needed in the Food Stamp Debate

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Originally published on Equal Voice.  It’s already begun happening. In 2016, 500,000 to 1 million recipients will be officially cut from the “food stamp” rolls. Some reports say it could […]

‘Unlocking Opportunities’ Policy Brief

Joseph Pate

By: Dorian T. Warren, Chirag Mehta, Steve Savner Imagine a 21st-century jobs program that puts families first, makes extensive investments in America’s most impoverished places and creates millions of good […]

What Happens When You Can’t Afford Self-care

Stephanie Land

Originally published on Talk Poverty. For the last year, I have been keenly aware of my dire need for two things: therapy and exercise. But for those who struggle to […]

The Answer is Muhammad Ali: Who else?

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Originally published in the Huffington Post. For most of my life, I haven’t idolized sports heroes. I may be the exception to the great American male rule-of-thumb. There have been […]

With $55,000 Debt, You Learn to Appreciate the Little Things

Stephanie Land

Originally posted on The Guardian as a kick-off to their series on debt. I expected college to feel like a major accomplishment. I walked across the stage, eight months pregnant with […]

Sheryl Sandberg Thinks She Finally Gets Single Moms, But She Doesn’t Get Me

Stephanie Land

Originally posted in SheKnows. I read Sheryl Sandberg’s recent Facebook post from the trenches of a horrible Mother’s Day weekend. The youngest had thrown up on Friday night, and we […]

Saying Your House is Messy Because You Play With Your Kids is a Privilege

Stephanie Land

Originally published in the Washington Post. I grew up in what some would call an immaculately clean home. I hated my mom a little for it. I wasn’t allowed to […]

Domestic Violence is Trapping Women in More Than Just Bad Relationships

Stephanie Land

Originally published on SheKnows. There are moments in my life that I can return to easily. I don’t have to close my eyes or envision the surroundings or what it […]

Out of Homelessness, A Mom Turns Advocate

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published on Rooflines, a Shelterforce blog. Jenean F. and her husband worked hard to achieve the increasingly elusive American Dream. She was a stay at home mom and he […]

Here’s How Many People it Takes to Replace a Single Mom

Stephanie Land

Originally published on SheKnows.  In the weeks building up to a business trip, I created a schedule for the five people who’d replace me, a single mom with two kids, […]

Just Because I’m Poor Doesn’t Mean My Kid Shouldn’t Have Nice Things

Stephanie Land

Originally published on She Knows.  My daughter and I were living in a conservative area when I started to notice an outcry to test people receiving public assistance for drug […]

Black Lives Matter Movement and Opportunities Deprived Go Hand In Hand

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published on Equal Voice.  What does it say about the value of Black lives when too many of those lives are in crumbling schools, drinking poisoned water, finding themselves […]

Back to School With TRIO Programs

Stephanie Land

Originally published on ESME.  Reentering college as a nontraditional student takes a lot of courage, especially as an older woman with kids. I received my bachelor’s degree at 35 and […]

Personal Narratives Can Change the World

Stephanie Land

This trip wasn’t just another day of traveling for work. I hadn’t been able to travel much at all in the last few years, and hadn’t flown on a plane […]

America Needs More ‘Porch Talk’ – And Not Just Every Four Years

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Every four years, America has a “porch talk” in South Carolina as attention shifts to the first in the south presidential primary. This year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton […]

Learning to Walk in a Homeless Shelter

Stephanie Land

Written by Center for Community Change Writing Fellow Stephanie Land. Originally published in the NY Times. My daughter learned to walk in a homeless shelter. We had one week left […]

There’s a Reason Black Youth Call Chicago ‘Chiraq’ and It’s Not Just Criminals Doing the Shooting

Fred McKissack Jr.

Written by Center for Communtiy Change Writing Fellow Fred McKissack. There’s a reason why young black people call Chicago “Chiraq.” It’s like a war zone in some neighborhoods. And it’s […]

Reinvesting In Poor Communities Must Be A Priority

Joseph Pate

Written by Anthony Newby, executive director for Neighborhoods Organizing for Change in Minneapolis and Dorian Warren, Center for Community Change board chairman. Originally posted on the Al Jazeera America. The […]

What do you do when you can’t afford childcare? You get creative.

Stephanie Land

Written by Center for Community Change Writing Fellow Stephanie Land. Originally posted on the Washington Post. At the start of my 10-minute break during a two-hour writing workshop, I looked […]

Why Poverty Isn’t a Halloween Costume

Stephanie Land

Originally published on Talk Poverty and The Nation.  When a website documenting the attire of Walmart customers surfaced several years ago, its popularity grew quickly. As Walmart is known for […]

The Art of Balancing the Ledger While in Poverty

Stephanie Land

Originally published on Talk Poverty and CommonDreams.  When you live at or under the federal poverty level, you’d better be good at crunching numbers. Every cent coming in or going […]

I Lived On $6 A Day With A 6-year-old And A Baby On The Way. It Was Extreme Poverty.

Stephanie Land

Originally published on The Guardian.  It didn’t take me long to go from financial stability to fearing homelessness. In January 2014 I was 35-years-old, raising a six-year-old nearly full-time and […]

Formerly Incarcerated Leaders React to the Introduction of Ban the Box Legislation

Olivia Chow

Formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones welcomed today’s introduction of the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2015 by Sens. Cory Booker and Ron Johnson, and Reps. […]

What working families in Memphis want to GOP candidates to address on Thursday

Wendi C. Thomas

Pictured to the right: Ella Collins at a Home Care Fight for $15 rally Ten Republican presidential candidates will take the stage in Cleveland Thursday for the GOP’s first televised primary […]

“Ban the Box,” Say Those In It: People Who Survive Prison Fight for Fair-Chance Hiring

Angela Zhao

Millions of Americans who have been imprisoned will survive one box only to be confined by another, smaller yet even more damaging one. On July 14th, the President spoke at […]

“That box was the bane of my existence”

Mark Ortiz

Photo to the left: Dorsey Nunn is executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and founder of All of Us or None, which advocates for prison reform and […]

Supporting Community Organizing to Build a More Inclusive Society

Center for Community Change

By Connie Heller Pictured to the left: A portion of a quilt created by Connie Heller in honor of Trayvon Martin. A better world is possible. A world in which […]

Netroots, #BlackLivesMatter and the Putting Families First campaign

Olivia Chow

This week we have seen a phenomenal shift in the conversation around race and poverty.  We are beginning to see a movement’s narrative take hold in the public debate and […]

My heart aches to see the struggle on Skid Row

Michael Anderson

This post was originally published on The Housing Trust Fund Project team spent much of the last week of June in Los Angeles and stayed at a hotel directly […]

Building Coalitions at the 2015 White House AAPI Youth Forum

Angela Zhao

Last Thursday, July 9th, over 150 Asian American and Pacific Islander college students from across the nation convened at the White House for the 2015 White House Initiative on Asian […]

Three-Strikes and You’re In: The Unconstitutionality of the Three-Strikes Law

Angela Zhao

The Supreme Court has been cranking out hit after hit of rulings that show signs of our progress as a nation that views Americans as human beings: as ones who […]

A Worker’s Take On The New Overtime Proposal

Wendi C. Thomas

Originally posted on Talk Poverty and The Nation. As a manager for a national auto supply chain, Lora McCrary puts in between 50 and 70 hours a week remodeling stores […]

Terror for Profit

Ronnie Galvin

America made Dylann Storm Roof. His act of terrorism didn’t happen in isolation. He is the physical and present-day manifestation of a deeply-ingrained mindset that says white Americans are superior […]

Rewriting the Rules to Benefit Everyone, Not Just the Wealthy

Angela Zhao

Angela Zhao is the Communications Intern at the Center for Community Change. Although the Roosevelt Institute’s” Rewriting the Rules” is a 115-page report advocating almost all imaginable social and economic […]

Fast Food CEO Blames Low-Wage Workers for Poverty

Deepak Bhargava

This piece was originally published on To be “poor” in America isn’t an identifying characteristic or a defining trait, like being forgetful or creative or tall. Being a low-income […]

Not same-sex marriage, not the Affordable Care Act, that OTHER Supreme Court ruling!

Olivia Chow

This has been a big week for the United States Supreme Court. Major decisions given over the past two days: to keep in place the Affordable Care Act’s current tax […]

Committed to Lies

Wendi C. Thomas

This post was originally published in The Memphis Flyer. Emancipation by veracity is a beautiful, if elusive, concept. People in search of comfort may turn to scripture after last week’s […]


Deirdra Reed

This blog was originally published on  When my sister-in-law was pregnant with her first child, she drove me crazy, calling me at all hours to tell me about every little […]

The New Female Face of the $10 Bill

Olivia Chow

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has announced that a to-be-determined woman will be pushing Alexander Hamilton from the focal point of the $10 in 2020. This will be the first bill […]

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