Taking Stock, Celebrating Our Progress and Getting Inspired

Basic Income March, 2021

By Erica Wright

The Basic Income March serves as our movement’s annual reminder to pause, take stock and celebrate our progress. This year was full of things to celebrate: from the over 90 pilots taking place across the U.S. to the extended Child Tax Credit — the first national guaranteed basic income legislation for families. While our movement celebrated this momentum across 31 cities — national and local press took notice. Teen Vogue touted the movement as one that resonates with the youth and local outlets took note of local community celebrations of pilot demonstrations.

Washington DC March, 2021

Basic income advocates organized a variety of different events across the country. While some put on traditional events like marches and rallies, others hosted open skates, enjoyed BBQ’s at the park, put on concerts, and tabled at art fairs. Organizers did an amazing job on-the-ground of bringing people together for these events safely, taking appropriate COVID precautions.

A new addition to this year’s events was the involvement of organizations leading pilots in their cities. The organizing of the Denver and Chicago events were based on deep partnerships between local volunteer organizers and staff from Equity And Transformation and Denver Basic Income Project. This led to strong turnout, great programs, and deeper celebration of local and national progress made for basic income. These were such a success, we anticipate increasing the number of events in 2022 that are led by pilot organizations.

Chicago Basic Income Event: BBQ and Skate Party

Organizers across the country hosted events that included activities encouraging deep engagement with the community around the idea of basic income. Some provided posters with different financial responsibilities like rent, student loans, childcare, savings, and participants placed stickers next to items they would use a basic income for. Others had people write down a wish for their lives if they received basic income and added it to a collective art installation.

What would a basic income mean for you? Growing a collective art installation of wishes in Portland, OR.

2021 was also a big year for growing the tools and resources needed for advocates and organizers across the country to lead successful events. This included the documenting of effective processes and building the necessary resources that correspond to core components of event planning — from inviting and supporting speakers to building effective volunteer teams. During an organizer debrief after the March, these resources were identified as critical to the success of the events.

At the core of this celebration and the core of our movement is community engagement. Our design for this year led us to connect with volunteer organizers on a deeper level, the interactive activities during events allowed organizers to connect more deeply with their community and pilot supported events ensured larger turn-outs bringing the movement to a wider audience.

Marching in the streets of Harlem, NYC 2021

It has been a joy to bring together our friends and advocates, both established and new. Along with our partner organizations and organizers, we invite new faces and facets to build on the foundation of our movement. We begin 2022 with gratitude to work in such a dynamic and growing space.

Erica Wright is an Initiative Manager at Income Movement and lead the organizing of the 2021 Basic Income March.

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