November 17th, 2011

It is pretty easy these days to think about what divides us – whether it is the Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street, the wealth gap, where you stand on immigration, or the outcome of the Iron Bowl.

That’s exactly why our Alabama Possible campaign has brought people together to talk about our aspirations for our communities, the barriers we face in achieving those aspirations, and what actions individuals, leaders, and communities can take in turning possibilities into reality.

These conversations have been hosted by organizations, schools, and houses of worship around the state and have provided great insight into ways to create economic opportunity. Here’s a smattering of what we have learned so far:

  • Workers need jobs that provide a living wage;
  • The importance of access to good education, quality healthcare, and adequate transportation;
  • The state’s 1901 Constitution and tax structure is perceived as a barrier to achieving economic opportunity;
  • The community could provide more resources like job training and mentoring experiences; and
  • Ending the notion that “the poor will always be with us” is an important step to ending these barriers.

Childcare, the penal system, diversity, and reliance on public benefits also came up in conversations.

What do you think?  How can Alabama communities and policy makers create and sustain economic opportunity?

The results of our conversations will be matched with data and presented to state policymakers, including the State Commission to Reduce Poverty.

Let your voice be heard by hosting an Alabama Possible community conversation. We will come to your worship group, civic organization, or classroom.

Contact Kristina Scott at 205.939.1408 or kscott@alabamapoverty.org for more information.