On September 6, 15,000 families gathered in Birmingham, Chicago and Los Angeles in a powerful national convening of Equal Voice for America’s Families, a campaign of the Marguerite Casey Foundation in partnership with grantees and others to shift attitudes and policies affecting poor and working-class families.

The three cities were linked via satellite, and the program for the day included keynote speakers, testimonies from families across the country, and 15,000 people in simultaneous small-group strategy discussions, 10 people at a time. Another 6,000 people watched the convention online.

Leading up to the convention, thousands of families participated in over 60 town meetings from large cities to rural areas to share their hopes and develop a national family platform that included two core beliefs:

Specific issues addressed in the platform include employment/job training, healthcare, housing, immigration reform, education, and the creation of safe and thriving communities.

The goal of the campaign is the adoption of the national family platform by the next president and Congress in order to effectively address the social and economic needs of poor and working families.

Highlander is a grantee of Marguerite Casey Foundation, and staff members Pam McMichael and Elandria Williams were among the small-group facilitators in Birmingham. For more information about the Equal Voice for America’s Families campaign, go to http://www.equalvoice2008.org.