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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.

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Entries tagged "caring across generations"

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Organizing Across Generations

April 2, 2012 ·

On Sunday night, the legendary TV talk host, Bill Moyers, focused on hope.  His guests were three of the most dynamic young leaders in social movements today: George Goehl of National People's Action, Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice, and Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

The three laid out the plans for the 99% Spring, which their groups and IPS are planning with over 40 other groups.  This included hundreds of trainings coming up next week and the actions later this spring to take on corporations

Sarita and Ai-jen also laid out the plans for the Caring Across Generations campaign (which IPS is also a part of). Caring Across Generations is uniting dozens of groups to transform care for elders and the lives of the 2 million women who provide the care.  The three were so great that they inspired Moyers to add a "Take Action" section to his show's website.   

A Wish for the Holidays: Children's Voices Ringing through the Halls of Congress

December 13, 2011 ·

On Thursday, December 8, 2011 I was part of a delegation that delivered over 5,000 letters to members of Congress that had been written by children from all across the nation.

The event was organized by the We Belong Together Campaign and was held in celebration of International Human Rights Day. Children of all ages and backgrounds were talking about their wish to be together with their parents and families (during the holidays and beyond), without fear of separation or deportation. 

Some of the kids were U.S. born citizens of immigrant parents, some of them were undocumented themselves, and some of them wrote letters because they were worried about the families of their friends.

Jaydon, a ten year old boy from California wrote

One day I got home and watched TV. Then my dad walked in and said "There are some people here". So mom got up from scrubing the floor and some weird people walked in and went in the basement. With my dad and my mom walked up stairs and started crying. Then she said, "they're taking your dad away." And before I knew it they were gone. My dad even forgot to say "good-bye. After my dad was taken away for a while, I thought we weren't a family anymore. I was so sad and mad I couldn't think clearly.

As I was carting one of the boxes over to the Hart building for the press conference, I took a peak at some of the other letters.  Their words and their pictures impacted me. It struck me that all they could do was hope that members of Congress and the Obama administration would listen to their stories and do something to make their young lives a little less precarious, lonely, and uncertain. What sort of reaction did we get from the staffers who received our letters?

A group of congressional staffers seem perplexed at the unusual delivery. Photo by Celia Perez Garcia.My role that day was to visually document the events that unfolded so I was keenly aware of their faces and their attitudes. I was traveling with a group of four Spanish speaking women from Tenants and Workers United. Some of the “anti-immigrant” congressional offices looked at us as if were aliens from another world- blank stares of indifference. One of the “pro-immigrant” congressional staffers did stop and engage in conversation with us. It was great.

Sadly, many of the individuals who wanted to come out and participate in the day’s events were kept at bay because they were afraid of random document checks. Maybe these letters will do something to persuade politicians to pursue more humane legislation (such as the HELP Act) that allows immigrant families to speak, act, and live without this fear. Given the recent news that the Supreme Court has decided to review  Arizona’s less than immigrant friendly immigration law, perhaps we are moving in the right direction.

Celia Garcia Perez is a 2011 fall intern with the Break The Chain Campaign.

Occupy Wall Street's Deep Roots

October 13, 2011 ·

A journalist asked me the other day where the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC protests came from. This is the story I told him.

These movements have deep roots. They were planted over the past century by the millions of workers who stood up to exploitation and won basic labor rights and drove up taxes on the wealthy to create a middle class.

Movements like Occupy Wall Street have deep roots. CC Photo by sarabeephoto.That fight sprouted a new root — the struggle for civil rights — and that fight melded with fights to end an unjust war in Vietnam. Then, in the 1970s, women came together to change how the nation thought about sexism, creating the space for new movements that said if you think sexism is wrong, why is homophobia OK? Then environmentalists started asking why it's OK to leave our grandchildren with a polluted planet. These are deep roots.

Around that time, in 1976, the exiled Chilean leader who was working at the Institute for Policy Studies, Orlando Letelier, was speaking before a packed crowd at Madison Square Garden, demanding an end to dictatorship. When he and his IPS colleague Ronni Karpen Moffitt were assassinated by that dictatorship 15 days later, their family and friends — including some here tonight at this human rights awards ceremony we hold in their names — responded by turning this tragedy into a powerful force for international human rights.

Then, two decades ago, these movements gave birth to the global justice movement, and millions came together to oppose corporate greed and corporate rule. In Chiapas, Mexico, indigenous people stood up to free trade They said: enough. Nine years ago, 15 million people in 600 cities said no to war against Iraq. Three years ago, millions poured into the streets to fight for immigrant rights.

This is the Peoples History. And if Howard Zinn were alive today, he'd be writing a new chapter right now.

It might start with the fruit vendor in Tunisia who said: enough. It would describe the millions of Egyptians who said: enough. It would describe the thousands of Mexicans who have stood up to the violence and said: enough. And it would tell about the brave people of Wisconsin who said: enough.

Yes, a part of our history is one of war, racism, genocide, and violent inequality. But, the more important part is the history of people coming together, fighting back, and creating a more decent and humane union.

So, today, we celebrate you all: you who are ending the wars, from CODEPINK to Peace Action; you from trade unions; you from progressive faith groups; you who are stopping the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline; you who are creating marriage equality; you who are rebuilding the American Dream and winning support for a DREAM Act; you who are Caring Across Generations; and you who will build the new economy that will provide dignified livelihoods to our next generation in a way that preserves the planet.

And for the thousands who are unrolling your sleeping bags in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza and Liberty Park tonight, and in occupations all over this country, we celebrate you as you continue the history of resistance to make this country and this world better for all of us.

What does the Institute for Policy Studies have to do with Occupy Wall Street? For 48 years, IPS has turned ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment, linking our work with the dynamic social movements of our time. And, we speak truth to power, so today, for example, one of our central messages in this time of supposed austerity is that there is no shortage of money.

And, our work details how we can mobilize that money while pursuing peace — by eliminating hundreds of billions in war spending; while pursuing justice — by sensibly taxing the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street speculation; and while protecting the environment — through carbon and pollution taxes.

There is plenty of money for jobs and for the other things this country so desperately needs.

Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanagh is a leader in the movement against corporate-led globalization. He delivered this speech at the 2011 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards ceremony on October 12.

Georgia on My Mind

September 29, 2011 ·

Since the execution of Troy Davis, whose shattering story activated thousands of people across the country to speak out against a flawed justice system and the brutality of capital punishment, Georgia has been on my mind. I was born there, in a small town outside of Atlanta called Austell, and spent many summers in Newnan with my grandparents. Both sides of my family can be traced back there, some as colonists and some from the Cherokee tribe that called Georgia home. For my entire childhood, Georgia represented the soothing, simple life, the one I felt connected to in my blood. Now, as I sit in the midst of my suitcase and talking points and pack for the delegation trip to Atlanta, I am filled with so much heartache… and even shame.

I was invited to join this delegation and bear witness to the testimony of immigrant women and children because of my work with trafficked and exploited migrant women workers here in the DC area, and my connection to the anti-trafficking movement in the United States. I hope to learn more about the daily struggles of immigrant women there, to learn about what impact severe immigration enforcement has on women’s trust in the police. For survivors of trafficking and other crimes, being able to trust law enforcement is essential. As an advocate, I spend a lot of time thinking about ways to build that trust and educate law enforcement about their critical role in identifying victims in immigrant communities. I will take what I learn from the delegation and continue to build the momentum for an end to laws like HB87, helping communities understand legislative cruelty by showing them human stories, and sensitizing law enforcement to their now deeply conflicted dual mission.

So, that is why I was invited, but it’s not why I decided to go.

In my heart, I needed to come back to Georgia to confront reality, to channel theheartache I am feeling and turn it into action. I want to be proud of Georgia, I want to be proud of our country, I want to be proud of my family. The US legacy of genocide, slavery, racism, and cruelty cannot be forgotten, but I am alive now, you are alive now, we can do something now. When I go to visit my father in Lindale after the delegation trip ends, I hope I can start this dialogue about Georgia with him, and I hope my friends in the South will do the same with their families.

Originally posted at MomsRising.

All Those Who Care: Campaign Launch Shows Depth of Interdependence

July 19, 2011 ·

Interdependence is the single word that embodies the Caring Across Generations (CAG) campaign, for me. 

Solidarity!  Faith!  History!  Unity!  Women! These are the words that resonated with other supporters of the movement.  In a circle in the ballroom of the Washington Hilton last week, we shouted our words and stood with our hands entwined, linked together by our common vision for transforming the culture of care.  The circle marked the end of the Care Congress and the beginning of a movement.

Jessica Lehman, leadership organizer for Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association, and herself an employer of home health aides shared her personal care story.  She described how the care giving relationship is more than people caring FOR her: “Interdependence is what Caring Across Generations is all about,” said Lehman.

As the more than 700 person crowd divided into “tracks,” for the afternoon, the erupting fervor did not dissipate. A highly energized ACTION group proceeded to Capitol Hill to testify on the importance of protecting Medicare and Medicaid and to hear from Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on these issues.

Sen. Franken speaks out in support of Caring Across Generations. Photo by Jobs with Justice.

The other half of the Congress attendees stayed at the hotel and attended workshops. I attended one about movements and organizing. I felt invigorated after collaborating to outline steps that can be taken to build a care movement that is premised on the ideal of showing dignity and respect to all persons. To hear and see individuals who hold a forward way of thinking about care relationships has and will continue to spur the movement for reform.

One such “care narrative” came from Rahnee Patrick, a disabled woman and disability rights activist. Individuals with disabilities are continuously in a “negotiation for independence,” she described. Even though a person helps to care for her body she, herself, “brings a lot to the table.” The care relationship is not a passive exchange. All individuals have agency over their wants and needs. Those calling upon care services do not hide the fact that dependence and interdependence are ingrained in the human condition. Understanding this connection and placing value on the relationships developed through their work is what allows domestic workers to feel proud of the direct care services they provide.

Another care narrative that is often overlooked is the unpaid kin care relationship. The 2011 AARP study, “Valuing the Invaluable,” finds that family caregivers often place their own health on the backburner to ensure that a loved one is well cared for. Juggling the care needs of an elderly or disabled family member with the demands of work can be strenuous and, if not well managed, can lead to burnout.  To avoid burn out without compromising the quality of care being provided working hours may be scaled back.  This approach, however, is not entirely favorable.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in income are lost in a lifetime, the AARP study reports, of caregivers scaling back work hours. An alternative approach, suggests Susan Mintz of the National Family Caregivers Association is to broaden our definition of “family” and extend care relationships into the community. 

The Caring Across Generations campaign is acknowledging the many forms of caregiving relationships, including unpaid family and friends providing care for loved ones. One of the policy proposals that the CAG campaign is evaluating in order to support individuals and families, is a tax credit for caregivers (along with other supports like social security credits, paid work leave, and expanding access to subsidies).

When our society begins to show care workers, seniors, and persons with disabilities dignity and respect, we can overhaul the current image of care and being to sculpt a new care story, one that reflects our values and acknowledges the many forms of caregiving relationships.

Jessica Cutcliffe is an intern at the Break The Chain Campaign, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies.

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