Economic Justice

Our Values

We feel the impact of income inequality every day in our neighborhoods, as we look out our windows towards vacant buildings, crime corners. We are directly impacted by poverty as our members, leaders and staff are predominantly low-income people of color. It is our core value, to fight for the rights of workers and to expand economic opportunities for the most disadvantaged communities.

 

Our Work

Our economic justice campaigns include:

  • Resident Re-entry Tax Credit Pilot Program (RRTCP)
    • Applicants with criminal records face significant barriers to employment. Securing living-wage employment is a key factor in preventing recidivism. In addition, the generational impact of mass incarceration and racially-biased senten
      cing laws have led to inflated prison populations as well as disproportionate incarceration rates for Black and Brown communities. The RRTCP aims to address both of these concerns.
      First, RRTCP will eliminate mandatory minimums retroactively, which would decrease prison populations and return community members to their families. Second, RRTCP will increase state revenue and save taxpayer money through decreased incarceration costs (as a result of the decreased costs related to releasing people from prison). That money saved will be reinvested into the RRTCP, which will help the program accomplish its third goal, which is to reduce crime and recidivism by helping to create 20,000 long-term, living-wage jobs for workers with conviction records, thus supporting their successful re-entry.
  • Fair tax
    • A progressive restructuring of income tax codes in IL, paving an equitable path forward for increasing the state’s revenue sources.
  • #BlackWomenWork
    • Action Now/Action Now Institute’s membership base is nearly 80% women. This year, we are following the lead of our members and being intentional about addressing gender disparities by launching #BlackWomenWork, our first gender equity campaign. 
    • Black women remain the lowest paid workers across all sectors, and the economic growth outlook for Black women in low-income communities remains stagnant. We recognize that even within progressive organizing and political spaces, there are very few Black women in leadership (few Black women Executive Directors, few Black Women who are Organizing Directors, etc.). Our staff and board of directors is majority Black women. In order for us to build a base of leaders for the long-haul, as well as deepen the bench for leadership within movement spaces, we believe that we must be intentional about lifting up the voices of Black women and engage in political education and leadership training with a gender equity lens.
    • This project will organize Black women to embrace the value in their unique experiences and will elevate their voices to provide counter narratives against racist stereotypes, as well as provide Black women with additional professional, political, and personal skills to equip them for long-term leadership.
    • Through digital and site-based organizing, we expect to collect stories highlighting the working experiences of at least 20 women, and will create a committee to address gender equity policy issues. We are excited to explore and define additional ways that we can make gender equity a regular part of our organizing strategies.

 

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