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Demos
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:21pm
Thu Dec 10, 2015

Progressives To Make Debt-Free College A Key 2016 Election Issue In Illinois, Other States

Progressive lawmakers from 10 U.S. states, including Illinois, have rolled out a legislative campaign in support of debt-free college.

On a Monday conference call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), 10 Democratic state legislators said they will introduce non-binding resolutions in their respective assemblies backing debt-free public higher education. The aim is to spark a larger conversation about debt-free college and make it a key 2016 election issue, according to the lawmakers.

Debt-free college resolutions will be introduced in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina plus Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"(Monday's) announcement is part of a larger progressive strategy for 2016, ensuring that the entire Democratic Party, from the top to the bottom of the ticket, is unified behind a big, bold economic populist agenda -- an agenda that motivates people to get to the polls, and it would be a game-changer in the lives of millions," said Kayla Wingbermuehle, PCCC's debt-free college campaign director.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:07pm
Tue Nov 17, 2015

Walmart Workers Fasting For $15 As Part Of Black Friday Protests

Walmart workers have stepped up their Black Friday protests against the mega retailer with a 15-day fast for a $15 minimum wage and full-time schedules.

Over 1,400 Walmart workers and their allies are participating in the fast, organized by the recently relaunched OUR Walmart campaign. In the run-up to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy, fasters are consuming a liquids-only diet for one to 15 days to draw attention to what they consider to be low wages and hours provided to Walmart workers.

The fast began last week and will culminate with Black Friday protests on November 27 at Walmart stores nationwide, including in Chicago and other Illinois cities.

"OUR Walmart's message to Walton heirs -- whose wealth has been greater than the bottom 42 percent of all American families combined -- is clear: while Walmart employees can barely put food on the table this Thanksgiving, Walmart continues to thrive as the largest supplier of groceries in the nation, while it lines the pockets of the Walton family with corporate greed," OUR Walmart said in statement. "Anything less than $15 and full-time is not enough for Walmart workers."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:41pm
Thu Sep 10, 2015

Minority, Low-Income Students Impacted The Most By College Debt, Report Shows

As the new school year gets underway, here are some troubling facts about student debt: minority and low-income students are borrowing at higher rates to attend college, and they're more likely to become indebted dropouts than their white and wealthier peers.

That's according to a recent report on college student borrowing by race and income from Demos, a progressive public policy organization. The research comes as the issues of college affordability and student debt emerge as hot campaign topics in the 2016 presidential race.

"While college is commonly regarded as a key tool to move up the economic ladder, we have created a system based almost entirely on acquiring debt to get ahead, with no regard to how it would impact different communities," report author and Demos senior policy analyst Mark Huelsman said in a statement. "This system is essentially pushing students of color and low-income students even farther down the ladder, adding an additional level of risk that previous generations did not take on when paying for college, and saddling them with additional disadvantages as they enter the workforce."