A Minnesota Without Poverty held a statewide convening on the state of poverty in Minnesota on December 9. This convening was nine months in the planning. Approximately 600 people participated at five sites around the state, with an additional unknown number joining the web-linked part of the program online. The event featured artistic depictions of Enough For All, the first speech to a public gathering by Mark Dayton who had just been officially designated Minnesota’s governor-elect the day before, a surprise challenge grant of $50,000 by a major local foundation committed to seeing the work continue, and a call to state and federal policy action.
The call to state action was to have constituents contact their state legislators and let them know the measure of their time in the next two years would be the extent to which there are fewer Minnesotans in poverty than there are now and the extent to which newly created jobs in an economic recovery would pay family-supporting wages. The federal call to action was to contact members of the Minnesota congressional delegation and ask them to endorse Half in Ten. News media covered the event. For photos and more reporting on the statewide gathering, visit http://www.mnwithoutpoverty.org/.
The directors of the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition and Affirmative Options Coalition were the featured guests on an hour-long well-respected Minnesota Public Radio program the morning of December 15. The program featured a discussion about poverty based on the newly released American Community Survey data from the Census Bureau. The key points made during the discussion were that: poverty is a measure of weak points in the larger economy; and the problem during this recession is not just job loss but the growing number of jobs that don’t pay a living wage.