On December 1 Colorado Half in Ten partner 9to5 will host an event releasing Half in Ten’s flagship report, “Restoring Shared Prosperity,” and its accompanying action toolkit to advocates and policymakers in Colorado. The event, hosted by the 9to5 National Association of Working Women and the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, will feature a presentation by Half in Ten Manager Melissa Boteach and a panel discussion about how advocates can leverage the new resources to cut poverty in the state.
The panel discussion will feature a diverse group of stakeholders including Melissa Boteach, a state senator, a direct service advocate, a directly affected person, and a faith-based advocate. Utilizing the panel’s wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, we are hoping to foster a productive discussion about the realities of poverty in Colorado and how we can move toward a more equitable and prosperous future for all. After the panel, there will be a stakeholders’ meeting where advocates will have a chance to determine both immediate and long-term action steps.
We’re expecting to have several legislators attend as well as many of the advocates from the Economic Opportunity and Poverty Reduction Task Force and the All Families Deserve a Chance Coalition. These organizations and legislators will be key allies in translating these action steps into tangible results.
As the legislative season approaches, 9to5 Colorado and our partners plan to support the reintroduction of the Job Protection and Civil Rights bill, which would allow individuals who successfully sue their employer for discrimination to also sue for punitive damages and attorney fees and other legal costs. This would eliminate a barrier that many individuals, many of whom are low-income, face when fighting discrimination in the workplace.
We are also currently working on a policy solution to the cliff effect in Colorado, the phenomenon where a small increase in a family’s income results in a devastating loss of benefits for individuals on public assistance. The worst and most pressing cliff is the loss of child care subsidies, which creates an almost insurmountable barrier for many families seeking to achieve economic stability and self-sufficiency.
Poverty is on the rise in Colorado, with the child poverty rate as high as 31 percent in some areas. With the help of our allies, we can reverse these trends and make Colorado a better place to live.