Newsletter Archive

Arise for Social Justice - Taking It to the Streets - November, 2011


On Wednesday, June 1, a Category 3 tornado swept through the city of Springfield, damaging more than 500 single family homes and leading to the condemnation of more than 350 rental units.  For a month, displaced families crowded into the Mass Mutual Civic Center, which was converted to a temporary shelter.  Over that month, families were gradually placed in housing that was sometimes out of the city and almost always more expensive than the housing they had previously occupied.

     This took place in an environment where every family shelter was already full, where many homeless families were living in motels, where rental housing units were leaving the market faster than they could be replaced, and in a year when 595 homeowners became renters due to foreclosure, with another 500 facing foreclosure petitions.   (Con’t P2)

     For the past 15 years, Emergency Assistance through the Dept of Transitional Assistance has been defined as temporary shelter or motel placement, and as frequent advocates, we’ve learned to work with it and do the best we can when a homeless family comes to Arise for help.
     Every year we struggle with new regulations and rule changes that even the DTA staff can’t keep up with. Thankfully we have Mass Law Reform Institute to help us understand the changes, and in many cases explain them to DTA case workers themselves when workers turn away a family that is actually eligible for services. This year has been fraught with even bigger and more frequent changes to regulations. In July 2011, new regulations further restricting who is eligible for EA went into effect and at the same time a new program, HomeBase, was opened for some families facing homelessness.  In order to qualify for HomeBase, you must qualify for EA but not use your EA or you become disqualified for HomeBase.  (Con’t P2)

When poor people think about winning the lottery, we think: buy a house for every family member who needs one, buy decent (and yeah, maybe luxury) cars, pay for our kids’ education and that “elective” dental work MassHealth won’t cover.  We think about the things we need. 
How much power do the rich have?

The top 1% of Americans possess a greater net worth than the entire bottom 90%.
The richest 20 percent of Americans own more than 80 percent of the country’s wealth. And the poorest 20 percent own one-tenth of 1%.
The Hoops Homeless families Have to Jump Through
     Take Tonya: divorced mother of two, not receiving any benefits. Tonya and her children moved in with her fiancĂ©, things were fine. Fast forward 6 months, Tonya is 4 months pregnant and getting beaten up almost every day.   She gives temporary custody of her children to their father and hides out at her sister’s until her ex-fiancĂ© finds her. No room in the local domestic violence shelter, so to protect her sister, she moves into her car and spends the next 4 ½ months finding safe places to park at night.
     Scheduled for a c-section in early October, she went to the welfare office where the HomeBase program is administered by the Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to apply for shelter but she was turned away because she “Didn’t qualify.” You see, she stayed at her sister’s instead of going right to DHCD. Logical? No. Confusing? Yes. Unfairly restrictive? You betcha.
     Sometimes all a family needs to keep out of homelessness is help with back rent or a back electric bill. HomeBase was designed to offer more than just motel or shelter placement, offering short-term rental subsidies or household needs.  But that’s a moot point right now. Why? Because DTA/DHCD underestimated the number of families who would apply and qualify for HomeBase. y 3 to 4 times and the program was nearly out of money after less than three months!.  DTA/DHCD asked for an additional $80 million to run the programs. The governor said he would only ask for $39 million. So DTA/DHCD planned to close both programs the beginning of October. Again thanks to a lot of great people at MLRI and Legal Services, DTA/DHCH agreed to continue EA services using last year’s regulations and while not accepting any new HomeBase families they would continue to serve the ones already enrolled. But this is only temporary.. We need to tell them how we want things done! Call your legislators, call the Governor, tell them to fully fund HomeBase & EA.  Find your legislator here: Give the Gov a call at Office of the Governor, Phone: 617.725.4005, toll free: 888.870.7770 (in state), Fax: 617.727.9725, TTY: 617.727.3666

Springfield’s Housing Crisis Unbearable – Organize!  The City of Springfield and Office for Housing has no written housing policy and lacks some of the most basic information on which a sound housing policy would be based, such as an understanding of the true vacancy rate and an accurate inventory of abandoned properties.  Yet the unwritten housing policy for years has been to promote homeownership, and indeed the ratio of homeownership to rentals has remained virtually unchanged over the last ten years—49% to 49% in 2001, and 47% to 47% in 2011, with 5% of the housing units abandoned.  This promotion of homeownership has remained true even through the foreclosure crisis.
     It’s become clear to us that renters’ voices will never be heard until we organize as a group!  Therefore we’re launching a new project—The Springfield Union of Neighbors and Neighborhoods. 

 We’re signing people up, canvassing door-to-door, and spreading the word.  Want to be a member and get involved?  Call Liz at 734-4948.


Then do something about it…..


New allies doing great organizing work don’t come along very often, but we’ve lucked out in Springfield  A year ago this November, a new coalition was formed and Arise has been part of it since the beginning.  The accomplishments of this coalition—in only a year—have been incredible.  Most recently NOL led the hugely successful, March on Wall St. Banks on Monday, November 21.  More than 350 participated and 15 people, including three Arise members, were arrested for stopping business as usual at Bank of America.  The march was supported by various Occupy movements and bank tenants from around the state. 
NOL’s goal is to help former owners and tenants stay in their homes after foreclosure.  To accomplish that goal, NOL members flyer every home in Springfield listed as being in foreclosure.  Then NOL has weekly meetings of bank tenants, and has built an incredible core of leadership from homeowners and former homeowners.  Of course, to really do its work, the community has to be educated for structural change to be accomplished.  Springfield now has the strongest foreclosure ordinance in the state, thanks to NOL leadership and city councilor Amaad Rivera. 
From NOL’s website: Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense. We mobilize tenants and former homeowners living in recently or about to be foreclosed homes (bank tenants) to stop evictions, protect Springfield’s housing and communities, and mobilize bank tenants to fight back against major lending institutions and banks that are tearing our communities apart. There were 595 foreclosures in Springfield, MA in 2010–the highest total number in the state! The ongoing foreclosure crisis and displacement of our communities is a disaster, one that is human-made and should elicit our outrage.
The financial institutions created this crisis and they should pay for it. This means they should rewrite loans at real value at fixed rates; accept rent from occupants; or sell the homes back to occupants at real value. Banks continue to engage in activities which further add to growing inequality and huge profits at the expense of the majority. Moreover, communities of color & working people are disproportionately affected by this crisis. We have the right to defend our homes and our communities whether it be legally, ethically or morally, we must act now to keep people in homes and our communities stable.
There’s so much more we could write about No One Leaves, and how great it is to have a new ally.  But you can check them out for yourself!  Their website is you can find their Facebook page by typing “Springfield No One Leaves.”  You can also reach NOL at its Springfield office, 29 Oakland St., Springfield, 342-1804.

History of Slashing HUD Budget – Renters are people, too!
1978 to1983: HUD budget authority shrank from $83 billion to little more than $18 billion (in 2004 constant dollars) and shelters opened throughout the United States.
1995 – 2011:  During this time, 290,588 existing units of public housing and 360,000 Section 8 units have been lost. With another 7,107 approved for demolition/disposition since March of this year.  After this time 830,000 new Jail and Prison cells have been created.
1996 – 2011:  HUD funding for new public housing units – the safety net for the poorest among us – has been zero since 1996
2008:  Homeowner tax breaks cost the US Treasury approximately $144 billion, with 75% of this expenditure benefiting homeowners earning more than $100,000 a year, while total funding in all federal lowincome housing assistance programs was $46 billion — a difference of $98 billion.

Stop the Hate and Homophobia in Springfield!
Almost one year ago (December 2010), we learned that Arise’s relatively new neighbor, Scott Lively of the Holy Grounds Coffee House was reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s top 10 Right-Watch of hate people/groups.  This was very concerning to us as we had known to be working with many of the same members of our community.  As we were alerted we quickly educated ourselves and began to strategize among our organization, and then, along with others in our community; and thus was born the Stop the Hate and Homophobia in Springfield Coalition.
Stop the Hate and Homophobia in Springfield Coalition is comprised of local community-based organizations, members of the faith community, local college professors, students, and individual community members.  Our aim is to address not only the presence of Scott Lively in our city, but to also address issues of homophobia and the intersections of other oppressions - i.e. racism, classism, sexism, ableism, in Springfield. 
Over the course of this past year, the Coalition, has held a few public actions: The first was last winter, when we held a vigil in front of the Arise office, and Lively’s coffee house after the reported murder of Ugandan activist, David Kato (as a clear result of the spreading of hateful propaganda brought by Lively and the other US religious leaders to Uganda). 
The second took place in June of 2011, when we rallied on behalf of a gay man who was beaten up by a group of young people in Barrows Park (near Arise).  The attack was based in homophobia and we quickly stood out in support of the man attacked and against homophobia.
The third was on Friday November 18th, when we organized a March and Rally Against Hate (and in collaboration with the Occupy Springfield Movement).  This demonstration followed an ad that Stop the Hate and Homophobia Coalition members wrote and published in the Springfield Sunday Republican (published on November 13, 2011), along with 250 accompanying names (see add here in the newsletter).
The March started at the corner of Chestnut and Maple Streets, and proceeded up State Street, first stopping by Commerce High School, and then on to Scott Lively's Holy Grounds Coffeehouse where we rallied for nearly an hour.
We were met by Lively’s church protesters as well as Tea Party protesters (interesting bedfellows!).  It was tense, yet powerful as we converged, drumming and chanting, and moved on to use the People's Mic (which has been widely and effectively used in the “Occupy Movement”) to amplify our message to inform the community of Lively and his ways, and of our message of spreading love, not hate.
We have much work to do to address homophobia in our community, and to continue to watch what Scott Lively is up to.  Please come join us in this very important and exciting work.
The Coalition meets the second Tuesday of each month from 6-8pm at the office of Out Now, located at 32 Hampden Street, Springfield, MA 01103.   Our next meeting is scheduled for:  Tuesday December 13th (*this is a short meeting*) from 6-7pm. 

The Peace and Anti Violence Committee has continued working on International and local issues during this last year.  Internationally The Vigil Against All Wars has entered it’s 9th year.  Every Monday, from 12 noon to 1PM, we stand in front of the Old Federal Building being conversation with the people in downtown Springfield, listening to their opinions about the wars, and their understanding of why there is the lack of money here at home.
Locally, we are working in two different coalitions, Stop the Hate,  which stands against oppression of all LBGT person and also against the hate which is being spread by Scott Livery a local minster, located a few doors from Arise. We also work with the Coalition for Community Justice, which works for police accountability and to put an end to police brutality.  Regionally, we work with Nuclear Free Future, to abolish nuclear war and to close the Vt. Yankee Nuclear plant.

Arise Holiday Party!

Have you been a part of Arise’s work this year?  Or do you just want to get to know us better?  Come to our Holiday Party!!!
Monday, December 12
5:30 – 8 pm

Please bring some food to share or a small gift for our free raffle!

Arise would like to thank our funders for supporting our work and our struggles. We couldn’t do it without you! Haymarket, NEGEF, Resist, Markham-Nathan, Common Stream and Lawson-Valentine, funding housing/post tornado organizing, environmental education and anti-biomass organizing, continuing peace and criminal justice work and general support.

Our Wish List for 2012
 Our very generous readers have always come through when we post our wish list so here it is;
Markers, crayons, paper products of all kinds, paints, noise makers, storable lunch foods, poster board, newer computers, office chairs, tech support, bus tokens, cleaning supplies, paint brushes, hot plate, children’s book, political posters ,volunteers, speaker phone, bullhorn, folding chairs and card table and large pieces of cloth for banners.
Thank you!

Arise and social media
Over the past several years social media has enhanced organizing to a remarkable degree. Long range communications and planning are happening on Facebook,  4 square and many more. Our listserve has been up and running for 12 years this June and our blog has been around for the past 4 years. This year we added a facebook page. So check us out.
And of course our ever faithful listserve, spreading the word about progressive actions in the Valley:

Donating to Arise has gotten even easier! You can now donate to Arise through PayPal and IGive. You can find the PayPal button on our Blog page  or stop by IGive and donate while you shop through Every penny helps.

Having a Holiday Party?
During this festive time of year, many people gather with friends and co-workers to hold a holiday party.  Maybe your extended family gathers around a potluck.  Maybe your employer puts on a company party.  This year, we ask that you take two minutes before you sit down to celebrate to remember what part you might have in making a difference.  Here are some ideas:        
     Place a festive jar or holiday hat out, so folks can donate to Arise
·        If your family hangs stockings, consider hanging an extra stocking for Arise and collect the change from your holiday shopping to donate to Arise
·         For a company party, consider running a raffle and donating the proceeds to Arise
·         Have leftover food from the company party? Consider bringing it down to Arise and we’ll make sure it gets distributed to those who need it.

25th Anniversary!!
This upcoming year marks a tremendous Anniversary for Arise. In 2012, Arise will be celebrating 25 years as a registered non-profit! Just two years after our four founders met around their kitchen table, Arise was able to incorporate and enter a new chapter of organizing.
In honor of this momentous occasion, we will be celebrating all year with a whole host of special events, from guest blog posts to art and poetry nights, all culminating in our 25th Anniversary Dinner in October.
Stay tuned for more details!
This fall we are happy to welcome a new staff member. Jennifer Blain joined us as Resource Developer in October.  Jenn was born Springfield and grew up in Ward 7. She is also a veteran, having served 6 years in the Army Reserves. Since her discharge, she has been active with various non-profits, including Iraq Veterans Against the War, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors;  Noho Pride; where she serves as the volunteer coordinator; and Storrowton Village Museum.  While she is relatively new to Arise, Jenn is exciting to get to know everyone. Feel free to stop by and meet her yourself J
Meet Arise!
Have you ever been to the Arise offices?  Have you ever seen the work that we do day in and day out? If you’re from the Springfield area, I hope you’ve taken the time to swing by. Maybe you’re not from around Springfield or don’t have the time to be able to come out and see us for yourself.  Through the Meet Arise! program we’ll bring Arise to you!
Meet Arise! is a short (one hour) event where we bring the work that we do to you and your friends. With photos, documents, stories, staff, and plenty of time for questions, Meet Arise! Is a great way for you to see how we make a difference in the community.
We are also looking for people to host these programs. If you are interested in hosting a Meet Arise! Program, please either contact the office or e-mail Jennifer Blain at
Training for Volunteers
We have an urgent need for members and volunteer s to undertake some very specific tasks:

  • Learn how to hear people’s’ stories who are in need of advocacy and how to point them in the right direction;   
  • Update our Resource Books and track down new resources to help us survive these tough times.
We’ll be holding a training for volunteers on
Thursday, January 12
Noon – 2 pm.

Interested?  Get in touch with Lamont at 734-4948

Community Coalition for Justice: Many wrongs to right!
The Community Coalition for Justice (CCJ), is a coalition of community organizations and community members.
Our general focus is to:
Raise public awareness about police abuse, misconduct and brutality; and offer community education to learn about and fight for our rights.  For the past two years as CCJ, we have fought for police accountability, and we have worked hard to end all police brutality here in Springfield.
This past year we have had some great victories in this work! The first victory came on International Stop Police Brutality Day, with the announcement that Jeffery Asher, one of the officers videotaped beating Melvin Jones during a traffic stop in November 2009) was fired.  The second victory came when the Hampden County DA announced he was dropping of all charges against Melvin Jones in the case that was connected to his being stopped by police that ended in his beating by Asher, and three other Springfield police officers.
Some of the important work CCJ does is in the form of court solidarity/support.  Right now, we are following closely the case of Charles Wilhite, who has been convicted with murder (and many who believe wrongfully).
As with each person questionably charged, we know, that being in court is very important to the outcome of case, it is our way of keeping the courts, lawyers and DA accountable. Please join us in this work. For more information, call Ellen at Arise, at: 413-734-4948

A Voice for Jaevon
I was first abandoned by my mother at the age of 2
It was just me my Dad and SpongeBob and Scooby Doo.
Dis-owned by my mother more than once
My Grandparents helped deliver the one two punch
Abused and Neglected thoroughly disrespected while under their roof
And when I spoke of my pain they refused to hear the TRUTH
So lies and court cases is what came next
but My God and My Dad would surely protect
Up their sleeves are many of tricks.
Not only my race but my mind is now mixed
I wonder what part of me does the judge not like
Is it the Black or is it the White
He doesn’t even know so how can he be right
Black robe NO JUSTICE just power and might
Our system so corrupt that it laughs at proof
While my Grandparents win as they lie through each tooth
I guess even victims would win if they had enough loot
The wicked hire the wicked to make it do what it do
I’m so glad that My Dad brought me up in the truth.

By Jaevon Andrews Age 11

Our Arizine has Arisen!
This summer we had a great intern,, Ashley McCall, from the Pioneer Valley Citizens Summer Program at Amherst College., who pulled together the first new edition of our Arizine in five years!  Arise and community members drew and wrote for the Zine and Ruben Santiago did the fantastic cover art. We’ve given out about  500 copies but still have more left.  Stop in and pick one up, or send us a large, stamped self-addressed envelope and we’ll mail you one!

URGENT! Protect Your Family’s Health! Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield!!

Palmer Paving has created a company called Palmer Renewable Energy (PRE) that will receive millions of dollars in Renewable Energy Credits while adding massive amounts of pollution to Springfield’s air.

This biomass incinerator slated for 1000 Page Boulevard will burn 1200 tons of wood pellets a day to generate less then 1% of Massachusetts’ energy. This electricity isn’t for Springfield, it’s for sale to the highest bidder. 

Annually, emissions from the incinerator include 44 tons of fine particulate matter, 13 tons of ammonia and 40 pounds of lead, and hundreds of tons of other pollutants, smog-creating gases and soot!  And we haven’t even talked about the greenhouse gases. (These are PRE’s figures; we think they will be higher.) Add in the exhaust fumes from upwards of 140 truck trips a day and we’ve got trouble.

Already, area school children suffer from double the state average of asthma cases—5,000 kids in the city--  and elevated blood levels for lead. There are 55 schools within a five mile radius of the proposed toxic incinerator, as well as much elderly housing. 

Already, Hampden County has received an F for air quality from the American Lung Association.  Many days already have an “unhealthy” rating from the EPA.

We’ll Pay the Price While They Get the Profits.


The state regulations have failed to protect us, but Springfield City Councilors can stop this plant if they have the courage.  The City Council can REVOKE PRE’s permit. Call your ward councilor and ALL of the at-large councilors, and tell them to say "NO" to this hazardous proposal.  (See back for phone numbers.) Let councilors know you care about your health, your family’s health and all residents of Pioneer Valley.

Have expressed opposition to Incineration:
Call, thank them, and tell them to VOTE to revoke PRE’s permit.

Ward 1
Zaida Luna
7 Demond Avenue, 01107

Ward 2
Mike Fenton
23 Park Road, 01104

Ward 3
Melvin A. Edwards
20 Dexter Street, 01103

Ward 4
E. Henry Twiggs78 Westminster, 01109

Ward 5
Clodo Concepcion
121 Mallowhill Road, 01129

Ward 6
Amaad I.Rivera
75 Pomona Street, 01108

Ward 7
Tim Allen
141 Newton Road, 01118

Ward 8
John Lysak
Apt. 2L, 28 Parker St. 01151

Voted in favor of PRE permit 2 years ago:
Call and get them on our side!  Ttell them to VOTE to revoke PRE’s permit.
Jose Tosado, President
22 Birch Glen Drive, 01129

James J. Ferrera, III
33 Palmyra Street, 01118

Timothy J. Rooke
50 Overlook Drive, 01118

Kateri Walsh, , Vice President
42 Magnolia Terrace, 01108

.At Large Councilors

Thomas Ashe
28 Wood End Road, 01118


Arise Newsletter January, 2013



 -Monday, January 7, 2013
Hampden Superior Court, 50 State Street, Springfield

It’s been a long struggle with much community organizing and we don’t know the outcome of the new trial, but what we DO know—we’ll never stop until there is justice for Charles!

(From the “Justice for Charles” Website) On September 17th, 2009, Charles Wilhite was arrested and interrogated as a murder suspect in the shooting death of Alberto Rodriguez that occurred on October 14th 2008. On December 6th, 2010, a jury delivered a guilty verdict against Charles Wilhite, for murder in the first degree, sentencing him to life imprisonment without parole.

As a community, we have significant concerns about the way the case was prosecuted and the way the verdict was reached:

There is no physical evidence linking Charles Wilhite to the shooting.

The testimonies presented at trial were contradictory, including the initial testimony linking Charles to the shooting.

During the trial, one of the Commonwealth’s key witnesses recanted her testimony.
After the trial, another key witness, immunized for his testimony, recanted his statement, including his identification of Charles. He cites police intimidation as one reason for his falsehood.
Jury deliberation lasted only three hours, despite the need to examine over fifty exhibits. 

Charles has not known freedom since September 2009. Charles pleaded his innocence then, as he does today, and will continue to do until he is freed.

We join him in his struggle, and invite you to learn more about his case, in the hopes that you join with us. We know he is innocent. We will not stop until he justice is served.


Bruce E Stidham/For the News-Leader

Sexual Minorities Uganda v. Scott Lively –

why you should care, why you should go!

On Monday January 7th 2013 in Federal Court Springfield, opening oral arguments will be heard for the motion to dismiss the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) v. Scott Lively.  This is not the defendant’s first attempt at dismissal.  
Lively is of course claiming his First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech and Religion. This historic case against Lively is for crimes against humanity, for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  It is a first case of its kind anywhere in the world and it is happening here in Massachusetts now that Scott Lively and his Abiding Truth Ministries – Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group – reside here in the Commonwealth.
For many years Scott Lively has travelled not just our country but the entire world spewing his own special form of hate and persecution imparting his own unique ‘knowledge’ of the ‘Gay Agenda’.  He claims he “knows more than almost anyone else in the world” about homosexuality.
In 2009, he brought his theory and his purposeful anti-LGBTI agenda to a Uganda workshop and a month or so later the Ugandan Parliament suddenly saw the introduction of what is now known as the ‘Kill the Gays Bill’, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, with harsh penalties that currently includes the death penalty. 
Scott Lively bragged that he had created a "nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda."  Oh, and don’t believe the rumors from the BBC or the AP or even Lively’s latest missive about the death penalty being removed as the bill cannot actually be modified until it is officially debated in the Ugandan Parliament.
Why should we care about what is happening in Uganda thanks to American Evangelicals?  Because if you’ve listened to the crowing of Lively, Perkins, Fischer, and others of that ilk following the bill’s reappearance on the Ugandan Parliament’s agenda in November you’ll have heard that it is exactly what they envision for the US too!
Not as likely to happen here as it seems in Uganda where it enjoys a 96% favorability rating thanks to the decades of lies spread throughout the African continent about how the American and European gays are coming for their children to recruit them into homosexuality, and how pray-away-the-gay really works, no really, and a whole host of other ridiculous unfounded claims easy to dispel if you have access to facts.
Here in the US, Scott Lively recently traveled to Springfield Missouri to lend his hand to derail that city’s proposed sexual orientation nondiscrimination ordinance, which he called a “Gay Fascism Bill” for which he now brags that he should be called in whenever a ‘Trojan Horse for the Gay Agenda’ like that crops up because surely he is the only one who can extinguish them as he claims to have done there.
So our LGBT brothers and sisters in Missouri will continue to be fired, evicted, and denied their civil rights thanks to our Commonwealth’s resident. 
Keeping in mind the more they succeed, the more emboldened they become everywhere. Here in the Commonwealth, we remember how public accommodations were removed from the Trans Civil Rights Bill.  Are you good with all that?  Are you okay with death and life imprisonment penalties for gays and their allies?  If not, please consider attending the court hearing to show support that this demonization of the gay and trans communities must stop everywhere.

What: Oral argument on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in SMUG v. Lively
Where: Hampden Courtroom, Federal Courthouse, 300 State St., Springfield, MA
When: Monday, January 7, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.

Cathy Kristofferson
GetEQUAL/MA and Stop The Hate and Homophobia Coalition Springfield


Ten Numbers the Rich Would Like Fudged - AlterNet / By Paul Bucheit

1. ONLY 3% of the very rich are entrepreneurs.  According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90% of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate. Only 3.6 % of taxpayers in the top .1% were classified as entrepreneurs based on 2004 tax returns. A 2009 Kauffman Foundation study found that the great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds, with less than 1 % of all entrepreneurs coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds.

2. Only FOUR OUT OF 150 countries have more wealth inequality than us. In a world listing compiled by a reputable research team (which nevertheless prompted double-checking), the U.S. has greater wealth inequality than every measured country in the world except for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Denmark, and Switzerland.

3. An amount equal to ONE-HALF the GDP is held untaxed overseas by rich Americans.  The Tax Justice Network estimated that between $21 and $32 trillion is hidden offshore, untaxed. With Americans making up 40% of the world's Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, that's $8 to $12 trillion in stashed in far-off hiding places. ~~ Based on a historical stock market return of 6%, up to $750 billion of income is lost to the U.S. every year, resulting in a tax loss of about $260 billion.

4. Corporations stopped paying HALF OF THEIR TAXES after the recession.  After paying an average of 22.5% from 1987 to 2008, corporations have paid an annual rate of 10% since. This represents a sudden $250 billion annual loss in taxes. ~~ U.S. corporations have shown a pattern of tax reluctance for more than 50 years, despite building their businesses with American research and infrastructure. They've passed the responsibility on to their workers. For every dollar of workers' payroll tax paid in the 1950s, corporations paid three dollars. Now it's 22 cents.

5. Just TEN Americans made a total of FIFTY BILLION DOLLARS in one year.  That's enough to pay the salaries of over a million nurses or teachers or emergency responders. ~~ That's enough, according to 2008 estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the UN's World Food Program, to feed the 870 million people in the world who are lacking sufficient food. ~~ For the free-market advocates who say "they've earned it": Point #1 above makes it clear how the wealthy make their money.

6. Tax deductions for the rich could pay off 100 PERCENT of the deficit. Another stat that required a double-check. Based on research by the Tax Policy Center, tax deferrals and deductions and other forms of tax expenditures (tax subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes), which largely benefit the rich, are worth about 7.4% of the GDP, or about $1.1 trillion. ~~ Other sources have estimated that about two-thirds of the annual $850 billion in tax expenditures goes to the top quintile of taxpayers.

7. The average single black or Hispanic woman has about $100 IN NET WORTH.  The Insight Center for Community Economic Development reported that median wealth for black and Hispanic women is a little over $100. That's much less than one percent of the median wealth for single white women ($41,500). ~~ Other studies confirm the racially-charged economic inequality in our country. For every dollar of NON-HOME wealth owned by white families, people of color have only one cent.

8. Elderly and disabled food stamp recipients get $4.30 A DAY FOR FOOD.  Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has dropped significantly over the past 15 years, serving only about a quarter of the families in poverty, and paying less than $400 per month for a family of three for housing and other necessities. Ninety percent of the available benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, or working households. Food stamp recipients get $4.30 a day.

9. Young adults have lost 2/3RDS OF THEIR NET WORTH since 1984.  21- to 35-year-olds: Your median net worth has dropped 68% since 1984, now less than $4,000.
That $4,000 has to pay for student loans that average $27,200. Or, if you're still in school, for $12,700 in credit card debt. ~~ With an unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds of almost 50%, two out of every five recent college graduates are living with their parents. But your favorite company may be hiring. Apple, which makes a profit of $420,000 per employee, can pay you about $12 per hour.

10. The American public paid about FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS to bail out the banks. That's about the same amount of money made by America's richest 10% in one year. But we all paid for the bailout. And because of it, we lost the opportunity for jobs, mortgage relief, and educational funding. ~~Bonus for the super-rich: A QUADRILLION DOLLARS in securities trading nets ZERO sales tax revenue for the U.S. ~~ The world derivatives market is estimated to be worth over a quadrillion dollars (a thousand trillion). At least $200 trillion of that is in the U.S.. In 2011 the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reported a trading volume of over $1 quadrillion on 3.4 billion annual contracts.

A quadrillion dollars. A sales tax of ONE-TENTH OF A PENNY on a quadrillion dollars could pay off the deficit. But the total sales tax was ZERO. ~~ It's not surprising that the very rich would like to fudge the numbers, as they have the nation.

Officially, 70% of all families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are denied shelter by the Dept. of Housing and Community Development—THEN DHCD brags about how they’re solving homelessness! 

On a state level, we need to set up visits with our legislators so they can be educated about what families are facing.

On a local level, we are looking for churches, mosques, synagogues and households willing to shelter families who have nowhere else to go We’re sending out letters to houses of worship now, and need help follow up and setting up meetings.




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