On March 8, members from the community group, Working America, joined together to share their stories and plan new ways to fight back against the avalanche of attacks being waged on working class families across the country. The members who came were from many different backgrounds, including recent college graduates, retirees, and even a one-year-old named Maggie. One common theme brought everyone together -- a desire to strengthen and rebuild our community.
We all know things have gone out of balance in America. In neighborhoods across the country, working families understand what's happening. Corporate power has grown, while working people's power has crumbled. Corporate profits and banker bonuses are doing great, but the rest of us are, rightly, worried. We're worried about keeping our jobs, staying in our homes, feeding our kids, and retiring securely. We know what the problems are, and we want to be part of the solution.
America's workers are more productive than ever, but the benefits of our hard work have gone more and more to a small number of the very wealthy. As the cost of health care, housing, and education has gone up, our wages have fallen behind and America is more unequal than ever. In Washington, D.C., in state capitals, in workplaces and corporate boardrooms, the interests of ordinary working people and their families seem to have been forgotten.
There's only one way we can reverse it and rebuild a country that works for everyone - and that's together.
"I'm here tonight because a canvasser from Working America knocked on my door and inspired me to get more involved," said Diane Stallard, who holds a master's degree in HR and has years of experience in the field, but after a round of layoffs at her company two years ago, is still looking for work.
David Bouchey wants to see his community in Aurora get back on its feet. "I want to make sure my neighbors know about what our elected officials have been up to and to hold them accountable!"
It's easy for banks, big corporations and the very wealthy to influence the political process -- they have millions to spend on TV ads, lobbying and campaign contributions and, as we've seen, they're not afraid to use it.
We can't outspend these powerful interests -- but we can fight for our needs with strength in numbers. Together, we can have a bigger impact on important decisions about our economy and our country. The morning after the meeting, Kevin Pape, CO State Director of Working America said, "This Community Action Team has voted and agreed to meet regularly to address the issues that matter most to us -- rebuilding our neighborhoods. We're organizing, we're building, and we're gaining momentum."