Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How do you feel about DC’s Large Retailer Accountability Act? And why Walmart may pull their plans to open stores


Written By: Ebony Landon and Posted to Blogger on July 9, 2013


Today Walmart announced that they will pull their plans to open three new locations in DC if they pass the “Living Wage Bill.”  On June 26, 2013, the DC council passed the initial vote to make retailers over 75,000 sf pay their employees $12.50 per hour.  Mike DeBonis and Jonathan O’Connell write that “the council’s vote puts Gray (D) under considerable pressure because he has made economic development of underserved areas — particularly in the eastern half of the city — a priority. But vetoing a bill that would give a leg up to low-income workers could be uncomfortable for Gray, who might seek reelection next year.

Walmart who is often in the news for their unfair treatment of workers, low pay and undesirable working conditions took to stage today and made their point clear to the District.  The retailer has been subject to criticism by numerous groups and individuals. Among these are labor unions, community groups, grassroots organizations, religious organizations, environmental groups and Wal-Mart customers. They have protested against Wal-Mart, the company's policies and business practices, including charges of racial and gender discrimination.”*


So is the living wage bill a hinderance to development or is it a help for the impoverished areas of the District?

$4.25 an hour equates to $8,320.00 a year in pay.  If you are currently making minimum wage in the District of $8.25 an hour, this is a large amount of money annually that could be used to support your family.  With the increase cost in gas, electricity, rent and food, this bump in income is substantial.  

Because Walmart employs part-time and relatively low paid workers, some workers may partially qualify for state welfare programs. This has led critics to claim that Walmart increases the burden on taxpayer-funded services. A 2002 survey by the state of Georgia's subsidized healthcare system, PeachCare, found thatWalmart was the largest private employer of parents of children enrolled in its program; one quarter of the employees of Georgia Walmarts qualified to enroll their children in the federal subsidized healthcare system Medicaid. A 2004 study at the University of California, Berkeley charges that Walmart's low wages and benefits are insufficient, and although decreasing the burden on the social safety net to some extent, California taxpayers still pay $86 million a year toWalmart employees.”*

If by paying lower wages to its employees still hurts the economy in the district the store is located in, why would we waiver on passing a bill that supports higher wages which may equate to lower subsidies to families lowering the cost of welfare in the District? Do we really want a retailer that would retract their bid to build in the District because their bottom line is more important than the welfare of the city they’re in?  How could a store benefit the area if it is not really benefiting the area?


People Effecting People was founded in 2012 by a group of leaders in the community who could no longer ignore the pressures of the economic hardships and needed to find a way to make a difference and create opportunity.  Economic uncertainty can cause significant stress in families already struggling to make ends meet.  Our team works to supplement those social programs cut out of the family budgets due to the rise in taxes and cuts in service funding.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The link between unemployment and child welfare, what does that mean for you in Maryland?

The link between unemployment and child welfare, what does that mean for you in Maryland?


Today the United States has more children living in poverty than any other industrialized nation according to Duncan Lindsey who wrote the Welfare of Children.  In Maryland that number was 14%according to the 2010 US Census. Growing up in poverty is on one of the largest threats to healthy child development.  


Poverty and financial stress can impede a child’s cognitive development and can contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems.  There are thousands and thousands of kids in this country who can't eat or sleep properly, can't pay attention in school and can't smile, because of the lingering concern of parental unemployment.  In Maryland, families receiving unemployment benefits will be impacted even the more with the recent reduction in benefits due to Federal Sequestration.  Without relief, these children will face lifelong problems.  


NBC writer Jeff Cox explains that 11.7 million Americans are stillunemployed and times will only get harder as the federal spending cuts kick in.  As of July 1, the average weekly benefit of $289 will fall by $43.  Maryland, along with New Jersey cut their unemployment benefits by 22.2%.  To add insult to injury, on July 1st, Maryland also increased the cost of gasoline by 4 cents a gallon in taxes.  This money, according to Governor Martin O’Malley is to support new transportation projects over the next six years.  The law passed also includes a “mechanism” to automatically raise the tax in the future based on inflation.  Maryland also increased the cost of tolls statewide.  The Federal government is also considering adding 4 cents a gallon tax this year.


The impact of the unemployment cuts and the transportation toll and tax increases hurt the low and middles class Maryland citizens the most.  In just the last two years, we have seen car registration double, vehicle titling double and car dealer processing fees double. For those citizens that are working this on top of the payroll tax hike in January has given a dismal outlook for our future.


First Focus (an advocacy group) writes “that when the economy takes a downturn, it often hits the most vulnerable families the hardest. Unfortunately, funding for social services andassistance programs tends to drop during times of economic struggle, when they are needed most.


As states struggle to balance budgets and make difficult decisions on budget cuts, programs for vulnerable children and families are facing cuts. According to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), at least 25 states have enacted budget cuts to critical services, including public health programs, programs for the elderly and disabled, k-12 education, colleges and universities, state workforce, and child welfare services. To date, states including Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio and Maryland have ordered budget cuts to child welfare programs.


How do we address the needs of vulnerable families during these economic times?


Despite budget instability, People Effecting People is continually looking for ways to implement programs that support children and families and build linkages with community resources.  Citizen engagement in local public service allows a collaborative, informed citizenry and in turn, a more responsive government.  Community partners are tappedfor ideas in prevention strategies and volunteers are brought in to more fully support local service delivery in child protection. This concept is not new nor is it particularly creative, but it is critical in today’s economic climate.

People Effecting People was founded in 2012 by a group of leaders in the community who could no longer ignore the pressures of the economic hardships and needed to find a way to make a difference and create opportunity.  Economic uncertainty can cause significant stress in families already struggling to make ends meet.  Our team works to supplement those social programs cut out of the family budgets due to the rise in taxes and cuts in service funding.

To learn more about us or to volunteer please visit our website at www.pepdmv.org.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Introducing PEP and Our Blog!

Hi, Everyone!!

Before our interview on this Thursday, June 13th with Cyrus Webb of Conversations Live! on BlogTalk Radio, I wanted to post some background information on our organization. 


People Effecting People was founded in 2012 by a group of leaders in the community who could no longer ignore the pressures of the economic hardships and needed to find a way to make a difference and create opportunity.  Our motto “in our communities, creating a legacy, building the future” describes what we believe our mission is on this earth.  Through collaboration and partnership, sacrifice and hard work we will change the existing pattern in the community as it relates to art, sports, health and education in our community.  We will organize, mobilize and facilitate a positive social change and create a positive impact on the youth, adults and seniors in our community.

These economic hardships are driving our seniors back into the workplace, pressuring our youth to pursue illegal activities and eliminating the family dynamic in our communities.  Finding and paying for quality services, events and programs is a major concern for the people of our communities.  People Effecting People will adequately provide access to resources, plan events, offer programs and services at low to no cost. 

These programs will provide opportunities to come together, encourage and learn from one another and address the challenges that face us a group.  Through mentoring, participation, support and education we will conquer social/cultural barriers to personal development.


Our goal is to guide and empower the community into a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on personal growth and community connections using positive role models and neighborhood-based programs. We promote educational excellence, economic self-sufficiency and community engagement through creative education and critical thinking, leadership development, action and service missions in the community.


The vision of People Effecting People ™ is to be the premier provider of programs and services of excellence, building a stronger, healthier, more self-reliant community transforming the way families live, learn, and relate to each other and the larger community. Our dedicated team provides services at a low-cost that will improve the lives of the residents in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia and strengthen the community as a whole by implementing programs based on ever changing neighborhood needs.


PEOPLE EFFECTING PEOPLE is a non-profit 501(c)(3) under From the Heart to the Hand Wholistic Services.  We are entirely funded through gifts and grants from individuals, foundations, corporations and institutions.


School’s Out™ - is a summer youth events and volunteer program focused in Arts, Education, Athletics and Health.


PEP Senior Moments ™ - is our senior events program focused in Arts, Education, Athletics and Health for seniors over 55 years of age.


PEP – HEP ™ - “Health Empowerment Project” – is a health team focused on physical, mental and nutritional health.  This team ages (13 and up) assembles monthly to complete community health challenges of a physical, mental and nutritional nature.


PEP-YASP™ - “Youth Athletic Scholarship Program” - department is focused on the physical, mental and character development of disenfranchised youth throughout the Washington Metropolitan area. Through our partnerships with like-minded youth sports organizations, PEP will provide an opportunity for these children to participate in a wide variety of sports including but not limited to; Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Track & Field, Flag Football and Tackle Football.


Discover Your Success ™ - is a tutoring program aimed to support and encourage the academic, personal, and social growth of children and youth in District, Maryland and Virginia with the help of volunteers and community partners.


Discover Your Talents ™ - are “how to” seminars taught by our community partners to help members of the community in areas of home improvement, culinary training, car repair, and other areas of interest. 


Discover Your Future ™ - is a series of classes, programs and events focused on supplemental vocational education and college preparation.

PEP Dance Academy ™ - are comprehensive dance classes for all ages taught by professional dancers in several different genres of dance. 


 Ebony Landon, Executive Director, Founder

April Lawyer, Director of Programs Education, Health and Athletics, Co-Founder

Shaneil Guidry, Director of Programs Arts and Entertainment, Co-Founder



We are presently looking at a variety of methods and programs to expand our outreach efforts to impact a greater number of youth in the region. If you or your organization has collaborative partnership ideas, please contact us directly.  We would love to learn more about ways we can best serve the youth of our communities.
Ebony Landon