2012 Domestic U.S. Workshops

With a focus on the impact of the federal budget and economic policies on children, poor people, and other vulnerable populations, the Domestic Workshops will review budgetary priorities; address the issue of taxes and other revenues; examine economic inequality in terms of gender; highlight the scapegoating of immigrants in spite of their contributions to their communities; consider what health care reform means for poor people; give a close look at profits, prisons, and the church; and review the impact of privatization on jobs, accountability, and democracy.

Workshops Coordinator: Larry CouchLobbyist, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd

Session I – Saturday, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

It’s All About the Benjamins: How the tax debate will determine the future of our government and how you can shape the outcome (even if the tax code scares you).

Huge policy negotiations over the past year—from the debt ceiling debate to the Super Committee—have broken down over one issue: taxes. Yet additional revenues are absolutely necessary if the federal government is to continue its work in addressing poverty and hunger in the U.S. and around the world. You don’t need to be a tax expert to play a role in this debate. Learn how to effectively use your voice to shape the outcome of these critical policy decisions. Hear experts talk in non-wonk speak about the role tax cuts have played in creating our deficits, debunking the major myths around taxes, and simple revenue options that will help address our deficits while maintaining the progressivity of the tax code and our government’s ability to fund its priorities.

Presenters: Richelle Friedman, PBVM, Coalition on Human Needs; Joan Huffer, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Steve Wamhoff, Citizens for Tax Justice


What Health Care Reform Means for People Living in Poverty: The Progress and the Challenges

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, our country made important first steps in making affordable health insurance available to almost everyone living in the United States. This workshop will focus on how persons who are living in or near poverty will benefit from the successful implementation of health care reform – and how they will be hurt if opponents to health care reform and/or proponents of reducing federal spending on health care programs are successful in their efforts. Information about both short-term and long-term enrollment efforts will be included.

Presenters: Jennifer Beeson, Families USA; Desmond Brown, Half in Ten Antipoverty Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund; Lisa Carr, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Conveners: Rev. Cynthia Abrams, United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society; Barbara Baylor, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries; and Rev. Linda Walling, Faithful Reform in Health Care


Privatization: Eroding Jobs, Accountability, and Democracy

We’ll explore the privatization of public education, prisons, government services like transportation and garbage collection, immigration detention, the military, and natural resources. How does privatization lead to the loss of well-paying jobs, loss of our rights, loss of public oversight, and loss of the common good?

Presenters: Rev. Dr. Mari Castellanos, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries; Rev. James Deming, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries, Rev. Sala Nolan, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries; Edith Rasell, Ph. D, United Church of Christ
Justice & Witness Ministries; Ms. Jan Resseger, Minister for Public Education and Witness, Justice and Witness Ministries


Session II – Saturday, March 24, 2:15 – 3:45 pm

The Federal Budget, Inequality, and our Nation’s Future

The federal budget directs the use of one-quarter of our nation’s resources. Does the budget move the country toward greater fairness and a sound economy that benefits all of us? Or are changes needed? This workshop will examine the impact of recent trends in revenue, expenditures (with a close look at cuts in social programs), and the deficit, and explore military spending to learn what can be cut without threatening our true security. Think the federal budget is not very important? Then this workshop is for you.

Presenters: Miriam Pemberton, Institute for Policy Studies; Indivar Dutta-
Gupta, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Edith Rasell, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries


Mind the Gap! Economic Inequality in the United States

Did you know that the wealthiest 1% of our population owns more than 90% of us combined? This wealth gap keeps people in poverty, erodes the middle class, and results in a decline in numerous measures of our nation’s wellbeing. This session will offer an introduction to the gap in wealth and power that the people of the United States experience today, examine the call of our faith to ensure that all people’s basic human needs are met, and discuss alternative economic systems that better serve the common good. The presenters will share different educational resources and offer insight into engaging the government and our community at large in reversing the growing disparity of wealth in our nation.”

Presenters: Shannon Hughes, NETWORK Education Program; Marianne Comfort, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


Keep Your State from Being “Alabama-d”: The Economy & Anti-Immigrant Policies

Cosponsored with Latin America Workshops

Immigrants often become scapegoats during economic downturns, despite playing important roles in our communities and economy. This workshop examines state anti-immigrant bills, negative enforcement measures, such as the ‘Secure Communities’ program and the expansion of unnecessary and costly immigrant detention. Come learn how people of faith can powerfully oppose and defeat anti-immigrant legislation, become involved in detention visitation ministry and offer community support to immigrants released from detention. Join us to learn, discuss, plan, organize, and act!

Presenters: Anna Campbell, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service; Noel Andersen, Immigrants’ Rights, Church World Service


Session III – Sunday, March 25, 11:00 am—12:30 pm

Setting a Foundation Beneath Which No Child Falls: Budget and Policy Injustice that Hurts Children

21 million children now qualify for subsidized school lunches—a 17 percent increase from last year.  In New York City, 7,000 classes are above the contractual size limit this school year; Texas cut pre-kindergarten for 100,000 children.  A cavernous income achievement gap now correlates with alarming U.S. income inequality.  Cuts include Medicaid for children, mental health services and foster care support. Yet budgets are down across the states, and deeper federal cuts loom.  What is the moral imperative?

Presenters: Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center; Jan Resseger, United Church of Christ Justice & Witness Ministries; Erica Williams, State Fiscal Project of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Prisons, Profits & the Church: Breaking the Chains of Injustice

Co-sponsored by The United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society and Mennonite Central Committee, this workshop will focus on the costs and profits associated with the prison industrial complex, with particular focus on rise of for-profit, private prison corporations and the responsibility of the church to respond.  Direct engagement and participation by EAD attendees will be facilitated by teach-in style, round table interaction with three guest speakers.

Presenters: Howard Zehr, Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University, Kara Gotsch, The Sentencing Project, and Emily Tucker, Detention Watch Network.


Women and the Economy: Missed Facts and Realities

Women comprise the majority of those living in poverty in the US.  This interactive workshop offers participants a take-away tool to understand and analyze the budget, priorities, and programs through the lens of gender.  Speakers include a representative on women’s issues from the White House and a practitioner to provide instructions to use this analysis in a wide-range of contexts. Facilitator: Justice for Women Working Group of the National Council of Churches.

Facilitated by the Justice for Women Working Group of the National Council of Churches. Facilitator: NCC Justice for Women Working Group.
Presenters: Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research; Dr. Caren Grown, USAID and American University; and a representative from the White House (invited) who works on issues pertaining to women and girls.

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations