Current Grant Information
Grant Period24 months
civic engagement, community development, community organizing, criminal justice, education, employment, environment, farmworkers, health care, housing, immigration, LGBT, living wage, race equality, voter engagement, workers rights, youth
Purpose of Grant
Project support for the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network.
In 2007, Marguerite Casey Foundation – in partnership with its grantees and their constituents – began a journey by asking two questions:
What would a nationwide movement aimed at raising the voices of poor and working families look like?
What would it take to spark and sustain a movement that ensured those voices were heard, not on a single issue but across all issues that affected their lives?
The Equal Voice for America’s Families campaign brought together tens of thousands of low-income families to create a national platform of values and policy suggestions in anticipation of the 2008 general elections.
The Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network took specific form after a series of five town hall meetings held across the region during the 2008 presidential campaign. In the spring and summer of 2008, close to 2,000 residents spent several hours on Saturday mornings developing a platform designed to bring working families’ voices to the political table.
These town hall meetings occurred simultaneously in twelve states across the country, culminating in the National Equal Voice for America’s Families Convention. On September 8, 2008, more than 15,000 people gathered in Birmingham AL, Chicago IL, and Los Angeles CA. Delegates to the conventions considered and then adopted an Equal Voice National Family Platform. The platform included calls for better jobs with livable wages, affordable housing, access to healthcare, and immigration reform. Delegates committed to presenting the platform to public officials at every level of government, and to urge them to adopt policies to address specific points in the platform.
The RGV Equal Voice Network delegation returned from the convention, and, in the fall of 2009, inspired the creation of six working groups that would address the issues that our families had identified as crucial to the community’s well-being: Civic Engagement; Jobs and Economic Security; Education; Housing; Immigration; and Health Care.
The network, while composed of groups that offer direct service to thousands of families, is united by a vision of organizing our constituents into a local force for lasting social and political change to this, one of the poorest and most disenfranchised regions of the United States.