This week, various poverty rights orgs tried to blogged on what they’re thankful for. Save Our Safety Net led the effort and a bunch of local progressives penned heartfelt thanks on their own blogs—-maybe giving Councilmember Marion Barry material for his next op-ed. It’s also their way of highlighting programs that they hope Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray won’t gut or eliminate.

Maybe I missed it but I did not see anyone offering praise to Walmart.

Legal Aid wrote:

“I, for one, am thankful that the District has a TANF program so that there is a safety net for the District’s most vulnerable families with children. When parents lose their jobs and can’t qualify for unemployment insurance, when a woman is fleeing her abuser and when a father is waiting for his SSI application to be approved, there is a program that will make sure that their family is not utterly destitute. The program should be improved so that it can better help parents who can work become employable and provide better linkages to supports for parents who cannot work.”

Poverty & Policy is thankful for….Tommy Wells support on the tax issue:

“I’m acutely anxious for those whose plight I know best — my fellow District of Columbia residents. So many unemployed or in jobs that don’t pay enough for them to afford the high cost of living here. A chronic problem made worse by the recession. For many of them, an upswing in the local job market won’t be enough.

Budget cuts have already damaged the local safety net. And now we’re told there have to be more cuts to get the budget back in balance. Councilmember Jack Evans is all for this. “Make as many cuts as possible,” he says, “so we can stay away from revenue hikes.”

I’m thankful not all Councilmembers share his view — especially thankful for my own Councilmember Tommy Wells’s outspoken support for a tax increase.

He’s of course concerned about the safety net programs under the jurisdiction of the Human Services Committee he chairs. But the argument he’s making for progressive reforms in our tax system reaches beyond his turf.”

The DC Fiscal Policy Institute, of course, posts an awesomely wonky reponse from the Capital Area Asset Builders:

“It’s the busy season for us at Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB); we’re gearing up for tax season. But while taxes can fill many with dread, CAAB is grateful for tax credits that help working families in DC, like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 

The EITC can significantly augment the income of a working individual or family.  Both the federal government and DC offer an EITC, with the result that a single mother of two earning $15,000 can receive more than $6,000 in combined EITC benefits. Studies have shown that the EITC has helped many single parents leave welfare for work, and that the EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other single federal program. The EITC also stimulates the local economy. A recent study showed that each dollar received from the EITC creates a further $1.58 in local economic activity, as families spend tax refunds locally on food, clothes, and other family needs.” 

DC Learns pens a heartfelt tribute to literacy programs:

“My mother taught me how to read when I was three.  She told me that she was very bored staying at home and hated soap operas, so she read books about how to teach reading, and taught both myself and my sister so by the time I entered school, we were both  reading several grade levels ahead of where most of our peers were.  I also remember going over to one of my younger friends houses when I was in fourth grade to “teach” him how to read. At that age, I couldn’t really teach anyone how to read, but the intent to help was there.

Many people aren’t as lucky. There are many reasons why people aren’t literate, or didn’t get a high school diploma, or have problems learning the English language.  The good news is that there are many programs in the District to help them.  I’ve been fortunate to work in some of them and have visited most of them to know that because of the threat of constant funding shortages, people have to really want to be in this field. I’m thankful to have met and known for many years people who have taught me through their experience how to care deeply about others.

But most of all, I’m thankful for getting to know all of the adult learners I’ve taught, met through my job at the DC Public Library, talked briefly through my outreach activities, and also gotten to know through my advocacy efforts volunteering for DC LEARNs.”