When the Equal Voice for America’s Families campaign was launched in October 2007 at the Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington state, the foundation’s message to families and grantees was:
We’re not going to prescribe what your needs are. We are going to use our capacity to elevate your power and authority to identify and drive the process to address those needs.
The campaign sought to create and advance a national agenda for families and to build a family constituency that advocates in its own behalf. The goal was to achieve a sustained shift in national attitudes and policies affecting poor and working families by:
- Creating a national platform of family issues that addresses issues of concern identified by families.
- Sparking a national dialogue about the policies and attitudes that have a negative impact on families.
- Ensuring that families are part of any such national discussion.
- Building a movement of families to bring about long-term change.
- Increasing civic engagement among families.
In partnership with 250 grantee organizations in 12 states, the foundation held a series of 65 town hall meetings to aggregate the voices of some 15,000 families into a national platform of values and concrete policy suggestions. The foundation facilitated the process by acting as convener — providing transportation, lodging and access to technology – but had no part in content creation for the national family platform.
Working collectively, we can change local, state and national policies to create a more equitable society.
The Equal Voice for America’s Families National Family Platform was ratified by family delegates in Chicago in June 2008 and adopted on Sept. 6, 2008, in a three-city national convention. More than 15,000 families attended the simultaneous conventions in Birmingham, Chicago and Los Angeles – with an additional 5,000 people viewing the conventions online.