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The State of OUR Union

Noreen Farrell, Executive Director

Noreen Farrell
By Noreen Farrell

"You and I both know where the real credit is due... We are our own champions."

Throughout the political circus that was the 2020 State of the Union address, we heard a lot about workers, care for students, and women’s rights. But you and I both know where the real credit is due for progress on these fronts. We are our own champions.

On wage increases for the lowest paid workers, we credit state legislators and advocates who have fought to raise state minimum wages and abolish the tipped minimum wage at a time when the federal government refuses to do either. We thank the community organizers and advocates who pushed these reforms, such as our partners in the Equal Pay Today campaign, and our friends leading the Fight for Fifteen and One Fair Wage campaigns.

On combating poverty, the credit belongs to partners across the country fighting proposed Trump policies that would kick 3.7 million people off food stamps and leave nearly 500,000 children without access to free school meals. We thank food pantries, the Poor People’s Campaign, and policy advocacy partners like the Western Center for Law & Poverty who work every day to elevate the needs of struggling communities.

On improved job quality and fair pay, we credit attorneys across the country standing with us to defend workers’ rights. We credit domestic workers, restaurant workers, and janitors who have organized to challenge sexual harassment, wage theft abuses, and retaliation. We thank our partners in the Stronger California Women’s Economic Security Campaign, inspirational leaders in states like Mississippi and South Carolina, and the brave advocates pushing for federal reforms despite the odds.

On fairness and safety for students, we feel the power of students, survivors, and advocates who have worked alongside us nationwide for the past 3 years to stop the Trump Administration’s blatant attempts to silence student survivors of sexual violence and end accountability for sexual assailants. We have slowed the implementation of the Administration’s new guidance on Title IX, and ERA will be part of ongoing legal action to stop these discriminatory policies from going into effect.

The state of our union is strong, and we will continue holding those in power accountable. Together, we move forward, advancing justice where we can and fighting injustice where we must.

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