Equal Justice on the Move-February Update

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Equal Justice...on the move
In This Issue
Samantha's Story

Samantha Watson talked with Maine Equal Justice Partners recently about the value of Parents as Scholars; the challenges she faced getting started with the program; and her advice to others with similar goals. 

When asked what getting her degree will mean for Samantha and her family, she replied: 

"It will mean the world - independence, financial security, and the ability to provide for my daughter. That's the ultimate goal - being able to provide for my daughter." 


One Strong Woman Takes a Stand for Affordable Housing

Kelly Martineau first took action with Maine Equal Justice last spring when the legislature considered a bill to create a state-funded rental voucher program. With courage and determination, Kelly's efforts are making a difference.



February 2016

Maine Equal Justice wants to keep you updated on advocacy at the Legislature, in the state agencies and courts, and your local communities.

We made a new year’s resolution this year to stay in more regular contact with our friends – to share a regular update with you on what is happening in Augusta and how and when you can get involved. You can expect to hear from us at the end of every other month with an update similar to this one.


In 2014 MEJP polled nearly 500 likely Maine voters and surveyed nearly 1,000 people with low incomes to ask their thoughts about poverty and how to reduce it in Maine. We learned that Mainers agree that the emphasis of welfare reform should be on expanding opportunity, not punishing people. Community forums held with people across the state last fall reinforced the survey result findings: Maine people believe that real reform should focus on building bridges to opportunity. Ultimately, the majority of legislators agreed and rejected dozens of punitive proposals that would have made life harder for people living on the edge. Plus, the Legislature took several positive steps toward making it easier for people to achieve economic self-sufficiency. (more...)

Legislative Advocacy: The Legislature is busy at work as we close out the month of February. This legislative session provides policymakers with an opportunity to increase access to health care for thousands of Mainers, take steps to create more affordable housing, and identify real solutions to growing poverty. Learn more about these opportunities in the articles featured here.

One Story of Many:  MEJP provides legal assistance to individuals who run into barriers as they attempt to navigate a complex system and receive help for which they are eligible. Every day we work with people who face significant obstacles. Their stories shine a light on the systemic barriers that need to be addressed as well as the resilience and strength of people who are facing these obstacles. We plan to highlight a different story in every update. Read about how Samantha successfully advocated for her family.

Equal Justice PARTNERS: We couldn’t advocate effectively for policy solutions to poverty if we weren’t partnering with people experiencing poverty directly. The people we work with and for who are struggling to make ends meet every day can speak to the importance of this work better than anyone else. We plan to provide a story from someone who stepped up to get involved to make a difference in their words. Read about how one strong woman recently took a stand for more affordable housing in Maine.

We will also pass on any recent education materials that we think may be helpful as well as any fact sheets we produce that are worth highlighting.

New Limits on Food Assistance as Hunger Increases in Maine

Some troubling statistics featured in So-called "Reform" is Taking Maine in the Wrong Direction:
We hope that Equal Justice on the Move will be helpful and informative. We welcome feedback if you have suggestions on how to improve it.


the Maine Equal Justice team

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