EARN in the South is a cross-state initiative to develop a pragmatic, but aspirational agenda for improving economic conditions for working families in the South.
Historically, EARN has supported work in states on a range of efforts to improve conditions for working families. Yet, the specific initiatives often have seemed beyond the reach of groups operating in more conservative areas, leaving them to feel that they cannot be full participants in EARN’s core mission. At the December 2016 EARN conference, a workshop titled “EARN in the Red” invited the directors of EARN’s state organizations to discuss opportunities for cross-state work, with a focus on how EARN can support work in the South. Subsequent discussions led to a September 2017 meeting in Atlanta, where representatives from 12 southern EARN groups and advocacy or organizing collaborators from each state discussed the unique challenges of work in the South and began developing a shared framework for advancing worker-centric economic policy in the region.
With an explicit recognition of the centrality of race in the economic and cultural history of the South, the 13 Southern EARN groups involved in this effort have insisted that this work include, from its inception, advocacy and organizing partners who represent affected communities. As a first step, southern EARN groups and their state collaborators will jointly develop a framework for action that can achieve visible successes, however incremental, while offering opportunities to build public support and advance a broader progressive economic agenda.
Participating EARN Groups: Alabama Arise, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Florida Policy Institute, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, Louisiana Budget Project, OneVoice, North Carolina Justice Center, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Every Texan, The Commonwealth Institute, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
Grassroots Partners: Adelante Alabama Worker Center, Arkansas Public Policy Panel, Flordia Rights Restoration Coalition, Atlanta Jobs with Justice, Kentucky Council of Churches, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, Mississippi NAACP, Fight for $15, BlockBuilderz, Texas Organizing Project, New Virginia Majority, CARE (Call to Action for Racial Equality) Coalition.