Speak Up Project (SUP) – The focus for 2016

On November 6, Senior Advocates for Hope and Justice and members of the community came together to tackle the issues that directly impact poverty and hunger. Starting out in groups, we discussed the root causes and solutions of poverty and hunger. Shanti Prasad, Community Mobilization Coordinator from the Alameda County Community Food Bank facilitated this sometimes personal conversation. In the end, the group agreed that:

LACK OF education, affordable wages, food security and nutrition, access to healthcare and political will INCREASE ACCESS TO: education, affordable wages, food security and nutrition, healthcare…

Create political will to change policy!


So, what can we - the elders, the students, the residents, of Oakland - do about this? That’s when Shanti and Janny Castillo introduced us to four campaigns in California that target hunger and homelessness:

The Campaign: The Demand/Talking Points
Increase Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment -Prioritize funding for SSP in the state budget and restore the cost of living adjustment so that seniors and people with disabilities are not living under the poverty level.

-It is critical to increase SSI/SSP income above the poverty level because recipients do not qualify for CalFresh (aka Food Stamps) and are therefore particularly at risk for hunger.

The Right to Rest -Protects our basic civil and human rights and our dignity by guaranteeing that the basic human need of resting is a right for all, regardless of housing status.

-with poverty and homelessness on the rise in CA, there has been a surge of laws targeting people who are poor.

Repeal the CalWorks Maximum Family Grant Rule -Repeal the 20-year-old law denying financial support to babies born while their families are receiving CalWORKs basic needs grants.

-This law has proven to increase and exacerbate childhood and deep poverty.

Raise Minimum Wage -Californians who work full-time should not live in poverty.

-The state minimum wage should take into account the very high cost of living in California.

-Adjust the minimum wage annually to the rate of inflation.


As we learned more about the campaigns and their ability to shape policy, a deep wave of empowerment washed over me. We are building power, people power. And together,  we’re going to take these campaigns to Sacramento and make our voices heard!

“The only way to end hunger in the U.S. and the world is a fundamental paradigm shift that replaces charity with social justice. And the only way to force that paradigm shift is to develop a mass people’s movement worldwide to ensure political power for low-income and working people around the globe. The time is now for an expanded and empowered worldwide anti-hunger movement…” - Joel Berg, Executive Director, NYCCAH

Looking forward,

Dani, volunteer

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