Equal Voice Action (EVA) is the result of more than a decade of focused research and work by Marguerite Casey Foundation and its grantee partners to learn the best way for poor and low-income families to have an equal voice in the local, regional and national policies that affect their lives. The Equal Voice membership organization supports and nurtures strong, vibrant activism within and among families, engaging them to advocate on their own behalf and improve the public and private systems that impact their lives.
In 2008, the foundation and its grantees held 65 town hall meetings in 12 states across the country that brought together 30,000 people, many with income levels of under $25,000, to identify the issues of highest importance to families. On September 8, 2008, 15,000 families came together in Birmingham, Chicago and Los Angeles, connected in real time via satellite, to adopt the first Equal Voice national family platform, based on the issues families identified at the town hall meetings.
Four years later, in the middle of the worst economic crisis in decades, families came together again to reaffirm and update the Equal Voice national family platform to address the issues and policies that have resulted in nearly 50 million people living in poverty in the U.S.
What the foundation learned from those experiences and from the grantees and families that participated in the Equal Voice campaign is that families and communities wanted a vehicle that would help them connect and build a national movement, a movement that would lift their voices – voices rarely heard in policy making circles – and give them collective power.
In 2013, the foundation and its grantees determined that the best way to sustain a movement and ensure that the voices of poor and low-income families were heard, was to support a family-led membership organization that recognized families as an organized constituency who can advocate on their own behalf. To advance that idea, Marguerite Casey convened a national Family Advisory Committee to advise the foundation on how a family-led organization could best support families.
Today, Equal Voice Action is an independent, family-led organization committed to ensuring that poor and low-income families have a voice in shaping public policy that directly impacts their daily lives. EVA believes that empowered families advocating on their own behalf can secure a better future for all families. Our Mission To ensure that all families have an equal voice in the policies that affect their communities and their daily lives; to ensure that no one lives in poverty.
Our issue areas include:
Education Immigration reform Health care reform Employment/job training/living wage Housing Child care Food security Environmental issues LGBT rights Transportation Elder care Youth engagement
In addition to joining a community of shared values, EVA provides benefits and advocacy tools to its members. Members receive:
Voting rights on a platform of social issues that EVA will advocate. Voting rights on the EVA board of directors. Access to the EVA website and the right to post ads on the site about job opportunities, housing, events and other items of community interest. Access to the EVA online community forums. Special invitations to members-only EVA events.
Members of Equal Voice Action work to have a voice in the laws passed and implemented by local, state and national governments that directly affect members’ daily lives.
Bring the voices of poor and low-income families to the forefront. Advocate and advance a national family platform determined by our members. Support policies and issues that benefit families. Hold politicians and policymakers accountable. Act as a resource for members.