On January 18 and 19, Half in Ten partner A Minnesota Without Poverty hosted two events in Grand Rapids as part of their “Enough for All” campaign. Enough for All is A Minnesota Without Poverty’s campaign around cutting poverty in Minnesota, specifically around the idea that there is enough for all to have enough, if we all do our part.
Despite challenging weather conditions the event drew 120 advocates, policymakers, and concerned residents to discuss strategies to cut poverty and expand economic opportunities for all Minnesota residents. The events were taped and will be shown on ICTV cable in Grand Rapids. The local cosponsors who made up the planning committee helped make the event a success and they formed great partnerships in the process.
On January 19 Nancy Maeker, executive director of A Minnesota Without Poverty, gave an overview of the group’s work and highlighted the theme, “We believe there is enough for all to have enough, if we all do our part.”
Desmond Brown of the Half in Ten campaign led a learning station at the event where advocates broke up into small groups to identify specific job-creation strategies. Discussions included expanding employment programs, improving access to child care and early leaning programs, and reforming the criminal-justice system to make it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to gain access to jobs.
Brown also provided an overview of “Restoring Shared Prosperity,” Half in Ten’s recent report on cutting poverty and expanding economic growth, and he provided participants with a set of resources they can use in their state to help cut the U.S. poverty rate in half in 10 years.
Representatives of local organizations and coalitions led other learning stations on jobs, education materials, citizen engagement, and story collection.
A successful panel discussion featured two current state legislators (Tom Saxhaug and Tom Anzelc), two legislative candidates (Joe Gould and Pat Medure), and three District 8 candidates (Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark, Rick Nolan). All were part of the Democratic Farmer Labor party, but Republican legislator Carolyn McElfatrick also attended the event.
The event concluded with a call to action, which urged participants to remain engaged on the 2012 legislative agenda.
A Minnesota Without Poverty will build on the momentum of this event by producing a new “MN Church Ladies” video to promote the Legislative Commission to End Poverty recommendations and their 2012 legislative agenda.