I won’t lie to you when I tell you that I am sickened by the Glen Beck’s of the right-wing-world whenever they set out to attack organizations that work for the greater good. ACORN is an example of an organization that organizes families and individuals, that works to stop foreclosures so that children will not be left without a roof over their head, and that promotes democracy (people-power) through voter registration and education and GOTV. So, it is time for all of us to support ACORN. Here’s how:
I’ve had better weeks during my years with ACORN.
Most of you have heard about the latest round of attacks being orchestrated against us by a pair of actors and their friends at purported “news” organizations on cable TV and the Internet.
The behavior of some ACORN employees has been completely indefensible, but make no mistake — the resulting sideshow is being fueled by the Right to distract all of us from the truth. And the truth is this: ACORN’s work is invaluable. We make sure the have-nots and have-lesses get some say and some political power in this country — and the people protecting the status quo have never been a big fan of that.
I’m disappointed that the efforts of a cynical, ill-intentioned group have yielded even a single bit of fodder for the ongoing, multi-year attack on ACORN. But ACORN takes the public’s trust seriously and is taking dramatic steps such as an immediate in-service training for all front-line workers and an independent review of our service programs to ensure that trust is, and will always be, well founded.
But the people working so hard to push these attacks — Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Fox “News”, etc. — don’t care about ACORN’s service delivery, protecting your tax dollars or upholding the law. And they certainly don’t care about the low- and moderate-income families and families of color that make up ACORN’s membership and constituency.
So when they raise a ruckus about undercover tapes, when they harp night and day on the results of a premeditated and manipulative effort to shut ACORN down, you know it’s not because they’re looking out for you. It’s because they want to derail the efforts of one of the strongest advocates this country has for low- and moderate-income people.
But suddenly these people and the politicians who listen to them — who don’t have the time of day for people like you and me — suddenly can’t stop talking about ACORN. And you can bet they’re not talking about the work that has made a difference in the lives of working families and communities of color across the nation. Fair? Balanced? Hardly.
Despite recent news, and despite what talking heads are so thrilled to repeat — there’s a great deal more to ACORN than what the Becks, Limbaughs, and Bachmanns of the world would have you believe. While it may be politically expedient to grab a seat on the bandwagon with the pundits and politicians wagging their fingers at the misdeeds of a handful of ACORN employees, the facts remain the same.
The vast majority of ACORN employees roll up their sleeves day-in and day-out, working long hours on behalf of the low- and moderate- income people in this country. They do good work — most of it work that the government can’t, or simply won’t, do.
There are a lot of good reasons to continue to stand firm with ACORN. Here are just a few:
- ACORN has helped nearly 50,000 homeowners access foreclosure prevention services since the start of our nation’s foreclosure crisis;
- ACORN played an integral role in the passage of 6 statewide minimum wage increases in Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, and California and the City of San Francisco — increases that set the stage for the national increase in 2007; all told over $2 billion put directly in the pocket of low-wage workers.
- ACORN fought hard against predatory lending for a decade, winning legislation in Massachusetts, New Mexico, California, New York and New Jersey, and changes in the behavior of some corporations that led to over $6 billion of equity staying in the hands of working families.
You and I know this isn’t work that Big Business, Big Media, or Big Politics are particularly fond of. But that’s not why ACORN exists. ACORN exists to make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans — often poor, often black or brown, often immigrants — and to make sure that all of us have a seat at the table and a voice in the voting booth.
And you can bet that’s what this is REALLY about.
In Solidarity and Strength,
Bertha Lewis, CEO & Chief Organizer