Everyday Moments & Historical Wins

April 2022 Newsletter



This month, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, making her the first Black woman to serve as a justice on the nation’s highest court.  But who inspires Justice Jackson? Who made her realize that the law was going to be her way of changing the world? Why did she dedicate her career to equal justice under the law? The answer is Judge Constance Baker Motley.

Constance Baker Motley was a civil rights lawyer, New York state politician, and the first Black woman appointed to the federal judiciary. Before finishing law school at Columbia University in 1945, Motley served as a law clerk in the office of Thurgood Marshall, the well-known civil rights leader who was the first African American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Melissa Harris Perry and Dorian Warren take a deep dive into the life and legacy of Judge Constance Baker Motley. Listen to the episode now!


We know how to reduce poverty: #BringBackCTC, #BringBackEITC

The United States has the funds and the policy solutions to drastically cut poverty and create an economy that works for all of us. We just need to prioritize kids and workers over billionaires. So, starting on April 14, as tax season wound to a close, advocates and organizers joined us to demand action from the GOP and Senator Manchin to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, generating over 456,000 impressions on Twitter with the hashtags #BringBackCTC and #BringBackEITC. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FQUTKaWX0AYnOH9.jpg


Now is the Time to Win on Guaranteed Income

Fifty years ago, Johnnie Tillmon said “welfare is a women’s issue,” and, with the National Welfare Rights Organization, proposed a plan for a Guaranteed Adequate Income to “eliminate sexism from welfare” (Ms. Magazine, 1972). After decades of racist and sexist arguments against this simple policy solution, evidence is accumulating of its efficacy as a tool to end poverty and racial wealth disparities. Pilot guaranteed income projects across the country — as well as the federal government’s stimulus and Child Tax Credit checks to families in response to the COVID-19 crisis — have demonstrated that people in low-income communities who receive a fixed monthly supplemental income spend the money on things that benefit their families, improve their physical and mental health, and allow them to plan for the future. 

Magnolia Mother’s Trust is one such guaranteed income pilot program. Launched by Springboard to Opportunities in Mississippi, the program gives $1,000 per month for 12 months to families headed by Black women living in federally subsidized housing. Kimberly, a single mother from Jackson, MS, describes how these payments eased her burdens and gave her hope in this op-ed in Ms. Magazine.

On April 13, Community Change, the Economic Security Project, and the Shriver Center for Poverty Law teamed up in a webinar hosted by Community Change Co-President Dorian Warren to make the case that guaranteed income is an idea whose time has come. The event featured Darrick Hamilton, Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Race, Power, and Political Economy at The New School; Toni Preckwinkle, President, Cook County Board of Commissioners; Nolan Downey, Staff Attorney, Legal Impact Network, Shriver Center on Poverty Law; and others. The speakers discussed the benefits of Guaranteed Income programs and the urgency of fighting for policies at the state and, in the longer term, federal levels. To learn more, you can watch the webinar here, and read Guaranteed Income: States Lead the Way in Reimagining the Social Safety Net, a report from the Shriver Center and ESP.

Coming Soon: A Day Without Child Care

Community Change Action is mobilizing advocates across the country on May 9 to join A Day Without Child Care: A Solidarity Strike and National Day of Action for Childcare in America. Parents, providers, and allies are coming together in solidarity to tell our elected leaders that our country cannot function without affordable child care that provides a living wage for providers — and to demand a new vision for an equitable child care system built on racial justice.

Our country can’t run even one day without child care. The reality is that our child care infrastructure is collapsing under the strain of decades of underinvestment and new challenges brought on by COVID. If we don’t act now, we’ll see more programs close, families won’t get the care they need, and the economy will suffer. Our message is simple: the work of caring for our children and families is some of the most important work in our lives, and the government needs to invest in it.

This is the message that parents, child care providers, and caregivers across the country will lift up when they walk out on May 9. Some providers will strike for the day, while other participants will plan other types of rallies and actions.

We are currently recruiting additional partners, allies, child care providers, and local businesses to participate by encouraging them to take the Day Without Child Care pledge, RSVP to an event in their local community, or sign up to host a rally or event. Don’t miss the opportunity to unite with parents and child care providers to demand action now.

Training and Tools to Work Smarter

On March 30th and April 6th, Community Change and our housing justice narrative fellows held learning sessions to present their findings on the impact of the nine-month fellowship hosted last year. Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager Jennifer Cossyleon, Ph.D., led a participatory research evaluation with nine fellows to increase the fellows’ capacity to conduct qualitative research and share the impact of the fellowship with the larger housing justice community. 

The fellows are all directly impacted leaders and organizers mobilizing their communities to change the narrative around housing. The fellowship equipped leaders and organizers in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington with the tools and network of support to sustain their power-building strategies. During one of the sessions, Erin Meechan, a leader from Residents Organizing for Change in Oregon, said,l “We had a heart for this work before, but now we are empowered with passion and tools.” Joelle Craft, a Washington Community Action Network  leader, agreed, expressing gratitude to Community Change staff for “giving us the training and tools to work smarter toward housing justice and other things.” 

The biggest takeaways from the fellowship were the practical tools fellows received throughout the program, like the Message Box,  and the community they all created with each other. Nzingha Masani-Manuel, an organizer from Detroit Affordable Housing Task Force, told session participants, “We can organize easily and WIN for our community with the Message Box…[it’s] a great training tool!!!!”. In a breakout room, she explained that she uses all the tools from the fellowship in her organizing work now and plans to use the Message Box again for an upcoming city ordinance they’re working on in Detroit. 

Throughout the learning session, fellows joyously shared their experiences being a part of the evaluation process. Brook Fadley, a Resident Action Project leader in Washington, said, “Being part of the eval process made every part of the fellowship more valuable.” Throughout both online sessions, fellows cheered each other on from the chat, sending encouraging words and emojis of their love and support .They iIllustrated a primary finding from the evaluation — the fellowship, while virtual, created an intentional space of community and trust. 

If you’re interested in reading more about the fellows’ experiences, check out the eEvaluation report, “It Just Makes Us More Powerful”: The Housing Justice Narrative Fellowship.  


For Black Mothers Like Me, The Reality of Mortality Rates Can Overshadow the Joy of Childbirth

On the first day of #BlackMaternalHealth week, Jessica Strong wrote about her own pregnancy journey — and how injustices continue to follow Black women before, during, and after childbirth.

A step closer to justice: Black women on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s rise

Our very own LaDon Love and Spaces member Aniyah were featured in The Guardian, speaking to what Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination means to them.

American Prospect: The Privatization Myth

Explore the deeply reported history over 40 years of handing public services over to private companies and how their example provides a stunning account of how not to govern.