Current Issues and Actions
Screening "Inequality for All"
Resources


End Child Poverty
"How are the children?" is the traditional greeting among the Masai people of Africa. If we asked ourselves that question as the people of Wisconsin right now, we would get a disturbing answer.

About two weeks ago, there was a startling new report about poverty in Wisconsin. In 2016, while we heard glowing reports of "record low unemployment" and "the best economy in decades," the rate of children living in poverty in Wisconsin INCREASED by 20%. (See article from Madison.com)

That's right. It is not just that poor families are not sharing in prosperity. Things have actually gotten worse for the poorest people among us. And, the fastest growing group of new poor people were children.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story is that it didn't even make the headlines. Other than a couple of very brief newspaper articles, it seems not to have been much noticed. There were no editorials. There were no protests. Most of us didn't even hear about it.

Read all of Barbara Pfarr's article here


Campaign to End Child Poverty

WISDOM and its partners call on people across Wisconsin to sign on to a new Campaign to End Child Poverty in Wisconsin. Over 200,000 kids in Wisconsin live in poverty:
African American kids are almost 5x more likely to be poor;
Latino kids are 3x more likely to be poor;
Native American kids are 4x more likely to be poor;

Go to the Campaign website, add your name, and encourage your friends to do the same towards our goal to bring 10,000 signers when we approach elected leaders to demand that ending child poverty be a goal for Wisconsin. Help us create moral outrage about the disgrace of child poverty in Wisconsin:
~ View a compelling video and share it with your friends:
~ Share the message on social media using our sample messages and graphics. Find them here;
~ Arrange to have a presentation. wisdomforjustice@gmail.com.
~ Use our petition, here, to encourage your personal contacts.

WISDOM President Rev. Willie Brisco: “Childhood should be a time of wonder and possibility. Children raised in poverty are less likely to see the world as a great adventure, and more likely to see it as a grim struggle for survival. As people of faith, we believe every child should have the chance to grow into the great person God created her to be.” This effort is a joint project of WISDOM, the Wisconsin Council of Churches, Kids Forward, and the Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund.


The Wisconsin Council of Churches offers the following resources for use in your congregation. Check them out.




Host a parish or in home screening of "Inequality for All" 
A passionate argument for the middle class.  The 400 richest Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich sees this disparity as a threat to democracy. “Inequality for All" explains why.  Discussion guide and discussion leaders and assistance with promotion are available through Catholics for Peace and Justice.  Contact us at info@Catholicsforpeaceandjustice.org  

Inequality for All – Resource and Action Guide
Contact and Educate Your Legislators Using 


United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development
“Tax revenues and public spending take on crucial economic importance for every civil and political community. The goal to be sought is public financing that is itself capable of becoming an instrument of development and solidarity.” As Congress begins deliberations on possible tax reform based on the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,” the following moral principles are offered to assist you:

1. Care for the poor.
2. Family formation and strengthening.
3. Progressivity of the tax code.
4. Adequate revenue for the sake of the common good.
5. Avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform.
6. Incentivize charitable giving and development.

National tax policy is complex, and its effects far-reaching. As the country wrestles with how best to raise adequate revenue to serve the common good and provide increased financial stability, you are urged to recognize the critical obligation of creating a just framework aimed at the economic security of all people, especially the least of these.

Read Bishop Frank J. Dewane's full letters to the US Senate and US House of Representatives here.


Employ Milwaukee Job and Training Opportunities
Employ Milwaukee is the Workforce Development Board for Milwaukee County. Employ Milwaukee works with businesses to help them fill their workforce needs, as well as job-seekers get the skills and training they need to secure employment in good jobs with decent wages, benefits and career ladders. They have a listserv with 100+ contacts that includes our contracted service providers, non-profit organizations, community partners, other religious organizations, libraries, resource rooms, etc. in order to get the word out far and wide about job and training opportunities for those interested.

If you are interested in this type of information, please contact Sara Rogers at sara.rogers@employmilwaukee.org or (414-270-1727) to be added to the list serve.


An intractable problem: For the last half-century, Milwaukee has been caught in a relentless social and economic spiral, By John Schmid and Kevin Crowe, JS Online 

Public health experts in Milwaukee and around the nation now see a direct link between childhood trauma and an incapacitated workforce. Improving the latter is impossible without addressing the former. Children exposed to abuse, violence and neglect may not be able to concentrate in school, much less job training programs. They often grow up without the temperament to coordinate with customers and co-workers. They struggle with sleep disorders and register high levels of absenteeism.   "Adding good new jobs won’t heal post-traumatic stress,"  Read the Article


Poverty, Inequality and Economics: A Series of Short Films by Robert Reich

In MoveOn’s Big Picture video series on how to save the economy hosted on their website, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich lays out a series of economic principles and policy proposals that could create an economy that works for everyone. The series includes fight for $15, End Mass Incarceration, Help Working Families, Reinvent Education and more. Each of the videos is less than three minutes. View them here.
 
Paul Ryan on Past Comments About the Poor: 'I Was Just Wrong'
"There was a time when I would talk about a difference between 'makers' and 'takers' in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. 'Takers' wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don't want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

"So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong." See more

A Few Things You Need to Know About Poverty in the U.S. Right Now

As Catholics, we strive for an economy that places people first. Everyone has a right to live in dignity, free from poverty, with decent work at just wages. Life in America is far from our Catholic understanding of a just economy.  Read the article

Resources for Combating Poverty
Wisconsin Council of Churches 

Building Thriving Community; Beyond Segregation in Milwaukee – Sunday, Oct 5 

Community Organizers
WISDOM Affiliates – 11x15 Prison Reform   
Common Ground – Fair Play, Milwaukee Rising, Healthcare Coop    

Citizens United/Campaign Funding Reform
Story of Citizens United   www.storyofstuff.org 

Minimum Wage
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities offers a succinct primer on the minimum wage  


Also see http://www.raisetheminimumwage.com/ for campaigns on raising the minimum wage.

Voter Registration - Milwaukee County Referendum