Community and policy organizations, child care workers, educators, people with past convictions, launch the All In For Ohio Agenda, a proactive vision for Ohio
Posted June 07, 2022 in Press Releases
Today Ohioans of all walks of life joined together to launch the All In For Ohio Agenda, a bold, new platform for Ohio that promotes a progressive and multiracial democracy in our state. Find the All In For Ohio Agenda online or download the pdf.
All in For Ohio is anchored by Policy Matters Ohio, a state based think tank and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC), the state’s largest grassroots community organizing group. The coalition works closely with the Ohio Federation of Teachers, Ohio Education Association, Freedom BLOC (Black Led Organizing Collaborative) and more.
“We are here on the heels of a dispiriting legislation session because we refuse to be governed by the extreme policies - and politicians more focused on fundraising than our futures. And by those who advance themselves by dividing all of us,” said Policy Matters Ohio Executive Director Hannah Halbert.
“We are all gathered here today to give voice to a new vision for Ohio,” said Pastor Derrick Holmes, OOC’s Columbus Faith Organizer and Pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Circleville. “I showed up under the authority of the one who sent me to tell you that in the midst of the injustice, in the midst of all of this unrighteousness, in the midst of this corruption, we do not have to settle for it. The power is always with the people.”
The comprehensive agenda unveiled today envisions a safe, healthy, and beautiful Ohio where everyone can live with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, gender, zip code or income level. The agenda consists of six policy pillars that focus on revenue, education, voting rights, economic dignity, community safety, and healthy communities.
Policy Matters State Policy Fellow, Guillermo Bervejillo, Ph.D., told the crowd that since 2005, state lawmakers have passed tax cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy and rich corporations that drained about $8 billion from Ohio communities per year. That revenue could have been used to help families afford child care, improve health outcomes for new moms and babies, and educate Ohio’s kids, he said.
“Corporate backed politicians have embraced state tax policies that have given the richest 1% of Ohio households — with average annual incomes of almost $1.5 million — an average annual tax cut of nearly $51,000: enough to buy a new luxury car every year.”
President of Cleveland Teachers Union and First Vice President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers Shari Obrenski called on lawmakers to fully and fairly fund all Ohio public schools instead of attacking educators and scapegoating students based on their race or gender.
“Just last week, we saw legislators trying to make it easier to put more guns in our schools and endanger our children by reducing the training for arming teachers and staff from 700 hours to a mere 24 hours–less than it takes to learn how to drive a car, or learn how to give someone a manicure,” she said. “And we saw legislators target and harass our students based on their gender identity and expression.”
Along with the agenda, the OOC launched its voter registration drive, which aims to register 50,000 people for the 2022 election. Since 2012, OOC has registered more than 400,000 Ohioans to vote.
“Our vote is our power,” said OOC Policy and Advocacy Director Jeniece Brock. “In order to have an Ohio where each and every one of us can thrive, we must have a say. Not some of us, not the elite of us, not those with a tax bracket above $100,000, but all of us. We pick our leaders, not the other way around.”
Other speakers included:
Michael Shields, Researcher, Policy Matters Ohio. He called for policies to support working people such as increasing the minimum wage and protecting working people from wage theft.
Tarrezz Thompson, Columbus child care provider and member of the CEO Project. She called on state lawmakers to increase public support for child care.
Amanda Woodrum, Senior Researcher, Policy Matters Ohio. She called for lawmakers to leverage federal funds to put people to work in good-paying, union jobs and declare racism a public health crisis.
Linda Howard, a leader with Building Freedom Ohio in Cleveland. Howard, who has a felony conviction in her past, called on lawmakers to dismantle barriers that prevent people with criminal records from getting jobs, housing and more.
Rev. Raymond Greene, Jr., Executive Director of Akron-based Freedom BLOC (Black Led Organizing Collaborative). He called for sentencing reform and for people who are incarcerated to have the right to vote.