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Voice For the Poor Updates

Voice For the Poor Updates 1080 1080 Jill Pioter

Fellow Vincentians,

As the new Chair of the Voice for the Poor Committee, I wanted to update you on our work. First, the new National Council Board made a small name change and we are now the Voice FOR the Poor Committee. While our committee’s name changed slightly, our mission and focus remain the same.

The National Voice for The Poor Committee is charged with advocating on behalf of people in poverty, and with education and information-sharing to strengthen and grow Council and Conference involvement with advocating for policy solutions to local, state, and national leaders and legislators.

During the Midyear Meeting, the National Council Members approved the updated Human Trafficking position paper. One of our committee’s goals is to update the National Council’s position papers, and we would like to update two or three papers each year. We will seek input of other national committees, including Formation, not only to work collaboratively, but also, to make sure that Catholic Social Teaching is incorporated into all our position papers. You can find the position papers on our website.

Also at the Midyear Meeting, we introduced the updated Voice for the Poor Manual, a digital document that can be found and downloaded or printed from the National Council website. I also presented a session on how to start a Voice For the Poor committee and recorded a short video that introduces the Voice For the Poor that will be available for upcoming SVdP Regional Meetings.

Please stay tuned for many exciting Voice For the Poor updates.  You can find more information at https://members.ssvpusa.org/voice-of-the-poor/ or email us at vop@svdpusa.org.

In Christ,
Bobby Kinkela
Voice For the Poor Chair

P.S.  Don’t forget to make advocacy part of your regular Conference and Council meetings. Make it an agenda topic. I encourage you to invite your fellow Vincentians, parishioners, and friends to become advocates for their neighbors in need. Why? Because our neighbors in need deserve it! Sign up at https://ssvpusa.org/take-action. Thank you!


Leveraging National Council Resources for State Advocacy

Leveraging National Council Resources for State Advocacy 903 903 Jill Pioter

As former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil famously stated, “All politics is local.” This year, SVdP Councils in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Michigan have utilized the National Council’s E-advocacy system Voter Voice to mobilize state advocates on homelessness, taxation, housing, and payday loans.

District Councils can make a big impact in their state legislature by mobilizing Vincentians to email their state legislators. We have seen success where local Councils are part of larger state coalitions that are vocal about a specific issue. Councils that work closely with their state Catholic Conferences on grassroots issues also see success.

In the four campaigns mentioned above, which last about 2 – 3 weeks each, have sent over 200 messages to state legislators and have resulted in 115 new advocates for St. Vincent de Paul. This was Georgia and Kentucky’s first foray into mobilizing advocates using Voter Voice, and their campaigns brought in the bulk of those 115 new advocates.

How do you get started?

State Diocesan/Archdiocesan presidents, District Council Presidents, Executive Director(s) are empowered to work on state legislative issues. When they agree to bring forward a potential grassroots campaign, they need to sign off on the campaign. They should notify their regional representative and Chair of the Voice for the Poor Committee and their Regional Vice President. Then they will work with Steve Uram, National Director of Poverty Programs, to draft the alert and the message to advocates and to the state legislators. You can find the process explained in our State and Advocacy Toolkit.

As Exodus 22:20-26 reminds us, we shall be judged if we oppress the poor or vulnerable — God will hear their cry. Let us build up the Kingdom of God with justice by advocating for our neighbors in need.

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