Family Thoughts

Rent, food, child care, clothes — it’s never been more expensive to raise a family and just get by. That’s why Community Change has been fighting for the past two decades to put more money directly into people’s pockets by expanding tax credits. 

Now, we’re working to spread the word, with TikTok stars and political leaders like Vice President Kamala Harris, that 90% of  families are eligible to receive up to $3,600 per child because of the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). This is a huge step toward ending child poverty and supporting parents in a meaningful way. And because of Community Change Action’s advocacy, families are getting cash every month — $423 on average! 

To celebrate this milestone — and increase support to make this expanded credit more inclusive and permanent — Community Change Co-President Dorian Warren and Melissa Harris-Perry hosted a Family Matters virtual rally on July 15, the day that the first CTC payments hit bank accounts. Along with the Economic Security Project, Building Back Together, the Care Can’t Wait Coalition, and dozens of other partners in the movement, we gathered online to celebrate this huge win for families. The event featured keynote remarks from Vice President Kamala Harris, along with appearances by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, union organizers, champions in Congress, flight attendants, an NFL star, movement leaders, TikTok stars raising awareness about the CTC on social media, and many of the speakers’ own children.

Vice President Harris summed it up: the impact of the CTC payments “will be felt not only by the children of today. It will be felt by families and communities and by our country for generations to come.

The Family Matters event was the culmination of the “Keep Families Afloat” Week of Action, which included events in more than a dozen states across the country to mark the beginning of the CTC payments. It’s clear the excitement is building. We saw #ChildTaxCredit trend online as parents started posting screenshots of the new payments being deposited in their bank accounts. Polling shows that 32 million people learned about the CTC in the last few months — voters’ CTC awareness went from below 50% in April to now over 66%. The White House credits Community Change for helping to drive this increase, with the President’s Senior Advisor Anita Dunn naming us a trusted voice on the Child Tax Credit.

But the fight isn’t over yet. Pandemic or not, sometimes working hard isn’t enough to get ahead and pay all the bills. Working families need ongoing, dedicated support to make ends meet. Community Change and our partners are continuing to work to make the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit permanent and more inclusive. 

Now is the time to go bigger and bolder on income support policies, and to galvanize Washington insiders to deliver direct cash support so that all families can thrive. 


How to Launch a Black Learning Community

Community Change and the Black Freedom Collective have launched F.U.L.L. (For Us Learned & Liberated), a learning community for Black organizing. F.U.L.L. lives  on the newly designed Black Freedom Collective website. The community is dedicated to building power and capacity and improving the wellness of Black organizers, leaders, and Black-led organizations, and it’s accessible to Black Freedom Collective partners and the broader organizing community. F.U.L.L. offers a wide range of resources, training, and workshops on key capacities in ways that center Black organizing. F.U.L.L. will begin with six key areas of focus: base building, fundraising, communications, policy and advocacy, organizational development, and healing justice. 

We see F.U.L.L. as a transformative space for Black organizing and capacity building that will evolve to ensure that Black leaders and their organizations feel whole and equipped with the things they need to continue the fight for liberation.

Immigrant Workers are Infrastructure

FIRM Action and the movement-wide We Are Home Action campaign are fighting hard for a path to citizenship to be included in the final budget reconciliation package. Over the past month, FIRM Action and We Are Home Action elevated this demand through a parallel inside/outside strategy — holding over a hundred meetings with senators and representatives while also launching a wave of actions in the streets. As part of a period of escalation from mid-June to mid-July, FIRM Action partners hosted nearly 70 public actions and events calling on Congress to negotiate a budget deal that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and on July 22, our Co-President Lorella Praeli, CHIRLA Executive Director Angelica Salas, and leaders from CHIRLA and NYIC met with Vice President Kamala Harris to deliver our call for citizenship loud and clear.

The pressure we’re applying is working: lawmakers like Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) say they won’t vote for a budget deal that excludes citizenship for essential workers. And we aren’t letting up now. On July 23, FIRM Action partners engaged in a series of escalation actions blocking major bridges in New York City and D.C. alongside other activities that send a clear message: immigrant communities are an essential part of the infrastructure that keeps this country running, and deserve to be included in the president’s budget deal. 

Taconic Fellowship: Endings and Beginnings

Danielle Atkinson is the founder and national executive director of Community Change partner Mothering Justice, a leadership development and advocacy membership organization in Detroit. This month, she also becomes an alumna of the  year-long Taconic Fellowship at Community Change. During her fellowship, Danielle developed the conceptual framework of an organizing model that she has created through her years of leadership and organizing. Her model aims to build bridges and power among women of color by identifying practices and lessons from feminist cultural practices, traditional healing practices, and matriarchal societies. Her diaspora matriarchy framework explores four ideas that resonate with different cultures throughout the African diaspora. The ideas include Belonging, Celebration of Blackness, Abundance, and Expansiveness. The fellowship has served as a point of inspiration and a springboard for her creativity and movement work. As she concludes this period of reflection, her exploration of the framework continues. She is in conversation with potential partners to explore vehicles for disseminating her learnings to reach a much broader audience. Stay tuned!


Hip Hop for Housing

Community Change’s housing partners in Washington state created “I Got Your Back” featuring Kingpin X, Jay Sears, and Smooth JZ3 to share how housing evictions impact the community. The Tacoma Refugee Choir and Tacomaprobono’s Housing Justice Project present this original hip hop classic to show how programs across the state can help protect tenants and keep people housed.

Powerful Invitations to Organize

Catch this riveting interview, as Community Change senior organizer Drew Astolfi interviews Prentiss Haney, co-director of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, about his experiences in electoral and community organizing, how he became a superhero organizer, and what OOC’s doing to change Ohio!

Reclaiming Freedom and Joy

Watch our Black Freedom Collective’s event celebration of freedom and joy. This hour of musical, physical, and spoken expression of Black joy will inspire you while naming and reclaiming what liberation is for the Black community in the current moment and future.