Part 1: Looking back with gratitude.
By Chelsea Wilkinson
Income Movement takes a philosophy of abundance to heart with the work we do, and hopes to model this through our actions within the non-profit and activist space. Our women-led team brings to the table a diverse history of experience as volunteers, and we take this experience into intention. We aspire to start conversations, find creative solutions, and bring a positive culture to the basic income movement.
What does an approach of abundance look like?
To overcome our biggest hurdles, we seek out collaboration, planning, and resourcefulness. Competition, possession, and selfishness are antithetical to abundance. We imagine a basic income movement with different organizations and leaders that fight for basic income, coming together to share, collaborate, and seek opportunities to work together and nurture a grassroots community that has unstoppable momentum.
This is the culture we want to foster. Basic income advocates are the life of the movement, supporting the people in this community must be our role.
In June, we invited the grassroots community to convene to look at initiatives and target events for our actions in the Summer and Fall of 2020. We invited organizations like Humanity Forward and Humanity First Movement to join us and be a part of the conversation. Participants signed up to be part of events and actions they were interested in, and we got to work in the days that followed.
Out of this convening grew critical, including: the COVID Congressional Action Plan, 2020 Basic Income March, and Social Justice Alliance. The grassroots community pressured politicians for an Emergency UBI via letter writing, phone calls and social media campaigns. We hoped this to to be a short-term campaign, but it grew to months with Congressional inaction. As news came from the hill, we adapted our tactics, targeting key leaders with arguments for cash that addressed the latest thinking. Our community sent over 139,000 letters to Congress from tens of thousands of constituents. We supported and advocated for temporary guaranteed income legislation that came out of Congress, including Emergency Money to the People, Automatic Boost to Communities, Lift Act, and Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act. Our disappointment with Congress is significant; we have more work to do to move them to action on the idea of monthly cash payments.
Then in September, UBI Advocates from across the globe took to the streets, while social distancing, in over 45 cities as part of the 2nd annual Basic Income March. We celebrated the success and progress UBI has made in 2020. Planning events during a pandemic posed an entirely new challenge and we were so proud of our community when the number of event hosts for this year grew. We designed the organizing tools and processes for the Basic Income March to support a variety of types of activities, so that basic income advocates could plan events that made the most sense for where their communities were at with the pandemic. This year we participated with international organizations like BIEN, UBI Works Canada, Red Renta Basica, with organizers in Iceland, Amsterdam, Turkey, India, Denmark, and Australia.
We also continued the building of the Social Justice Alliance program. An important part of Income Movement’s roadmap is to nurture relationships with organizations that fight for social and economic justice. We promoted the work of Movement for Black Lives and grew our commitment to supporting the multi-ethnic and inclusive Poor People’s Campaign. We deepened our collaboration with our partners at The Justice Collaborative, because we are drawn to their mission to end the dehumanization of people that is par of the American criminal justice system. Their work on addressing the criminalization of poverty, our incarceration crisis, and more and their promotion of a guaranteed income as integral to combating this is inspiring.
With the new administration’s First 100 Days ahead of us, Income Movement is charting a course of action for the next six months out, with a strategic approach to ensure the new President and new Congress prioritize ongoing payments to people as part of the stimulus and recovery from this economic depression. We are kicking off this effort with another convening, The State of the Movement. This will now be a quarterly gathering of the community, to coordinate across all basic income organizations and the larger grassroots advocates to work together on the next big efforts in the movement. to lay out a plan to exert pressure on the new administration.
Being a non-profit organization that has an abundance mindset, we seek to elevate the work that is happening around us in the movement for basic income. To us, it is critical to nurture a movement that has grown into an ecosystem of organizations, leaders, and grassroots advocates. The State of the Movement Quarterly Meetings are designed to do just this. They are an opportunity to share our initiatives with the larger community, and highlight and share the work that others are up to. It is an opportunity to bring in new partners into the conversation, and ensure the grassroots voice is part of every step we take on our roadmap. We will share new tools we are creating to help the grassroots movement grow, and bring the community into our conversation about abundance.
Big, new, innovative ideas that challenge the norm are a part of our identity as a movement fighting for Universal Basic Income, and we hope that you will join us in the work. Join us for the 2021 State of the Movement, November 17, 5pm PT.
Chelsea Wilkinson is an Initiative Coordinator at Income Movement. Connect with her on Twitter @hellseathinks