PRESS RELEASE: Poverty is #Unbearable! WV Mothers/Groups AGAIN Urge Senator Manchin To Negotiate Extension of Child Tax Credit

PRESS RELEASE

Poverty is #Unbearable!

West Virginia Mothers/Groups AGAIN Urge Senator Manchin To Negotiate Extension of Child Tax Credit  

  • WHAT: Press Conference on Child Tax Credit 
  • WHEN: Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022 at 11:30AM ET
  • WHERE: Public sidewalk across from Senator Manchin’s offices,
    900 Pennsylvania Ave., Charleston, WV 25302
  • WHO: Coalition of West Virginia groups and directly impacted parents. Speakers will include Reverend Jeff Allen, Joanna Vance, West Virginia mothers/parents/guardians, and several others from organizations within our coalition.

Charleston, WV – TODAY, Wednesday, February 2nd, at 11:30AM, a coalition of West Virginia organizations and directly impacted mothers, parents and grandparents held a press conference on the public sidewalk across from Senator Joe Manchin’s office, to amplify the voices of WV “Momma Bears” who want to remind him that 50,000 West Virginia children are now back below the poverty line with the elimination of the enhanced CTC. For WV children and families, poverty is #Unbearable.

In December, eleven West Virginia mothers dialed in to a meeting with Senator Joe Manchin’s policy team. They’d agreed to discuss how vital the CTC is for their families, from feeding hungry children to paying for childcare. But, less than 15 minutes before the call was supposed to start, it was canceled. Since then, these mothers have looked for other ways to make sure they are heard. 

A couple weeks ago, a coalition of West Virginia organizations, parents and grandparents held a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol to tell Senator Joe Manchin that families in West Virginia are worried that no deal has been made in Congress for an extension of the Child Tax Credit. Senator Manchin did not budge.

AGAIN, West Virginia mothers raised their voices to be heard. 

Today, February 2nd at 11:30AM, these mothers traveled to Washington, DC to share their stories with senators in front of 500+ teddy bears at the US Capitol. They were led by WV economic justice organizer Amy Jo Hutchison. We hope the stories will be heard by the senate and inspire action by the federal government.

At the same time, here in Charleston, WV, a small group stood outside Senator Manchin’s office reading quotes from West Virginia mothers on how our families and children are suffering. Without the aid of the Enhanced Child Tax Credit, things are just Unbearable. 

Quotes from today’s WV event and from WV mothers are at the bottom of this press release. 

To highlight the urgent need, the Unbearable Campaign was created to amplify these West Virginian “Mama Bears’” stories and aims to develop solidarity among parents nationwide. The campaign is grounded in the visual imagery of “loved on” teddy bears, to keep the focus on the children who are suffering, and vivid language—including bear metaphors—to raise awareness of families’ stories.

For more information on how you can help amplify these voices on Feb 2nd and 3rd, visit www.unbearablecampaign.com

The coalition supporting these efforts includes: the West Virginia Council of Churches, Young West Virginia Forward, the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, West Virginia Citizen Action Group, Rattle the Windows, American Friends Service Committee West Virginia Economic Justice Project, TEAM for West Virginia Children, National Association of Social Workers West Virginia Chapter, Race Matters West Virginia, and Community Change Action.

Quotes from today’s WV event

“As we stand outside the West Virginia state lottery building, it is a good reminder that we shouldn’t gamble with our children’s lives,” said United Methodist Pastor Jeff Allen. “It is not good to leave our children’s future to chance, not when we have the opportunity to even the odds for West Virginia children. It’s not good when children’s lives become unbearable for hunger, lack of daycare, lack of housing and poverty. As we stand here today, we know that mothers and fathers and advocates for children will be standing on the mall at Washington DC, all with 500 Teddy bears, each bear representing 100 children, fallen back into poverty with the expiration of the extended child tax.”

JoAnne Vance, a WV mother, said that “Now here we are in February with no child tax credit and all of the families that I’ve organized with and worked with for six months to try to get the child tax credit extended are hurting and are suffering. People who didn’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck because of the child tax credit are now having their bills [pile up], getting their power cut off, having water cut off, having to choose between what bills to pay and what groceries to buy at the grocery store. I’m a part of a group.”

“It’s unacceptable and unbearable,” said Amber Roy, a WV mother. “Senator Manchin… listen, you’ll never know. You will never know what it’s like to only be allowed to buy your child one gift for Christmas because that’s all you can afford. You will never know what it’s like to have to choose which utility bill you pay to make sure that your kids don’t go without. You will never know what it’s like to carry a calculator in the grocery store to make sure that you don’t go over your budget and have to put main items back because you did. You will never know what that’s like. You will never know what it’s like to have to explain to your child how to cook something extra on your way to work in case they’re still hungry after they eat the dinner you prepare because there’s not enough. You’ll never know what that’s like, but I do. We do. And we are screaming to tell you don’t turn your back on our kids.”

WV Mama Bear Voices

“I am very worried about utility costs this winter. That money was a godsend for helping with that.”
– Kim, a WV Mom

“We will have to be selective about what we purchase at the grocery store. If it gets too tight I will have to get a part time job. I also provide care to my aging parents. If I have to get a part time job, I am not sure who will be able to provide care to my parents.”
– Christy, a WV Mom, Culloden

“The child tax credits have helped us on our journey to get out of debit and eventually own a home.”
– Rebecca, a WV Mom, Fairmont

“With the CTC we were able to buy groceries and pay for bills that would have been harder to do. Having that breathing room was helpful with our mental outlook on our finances. Anxiety is not fun, and anxiety about paying bills and getting evicted can be an ever present undercurrent – but this money helped to alleviate some of that worry, and to me, that is priceless.”
– Erin, a WV Mom, Morgantown

“2021 was an especially difficult year for my family for a lot of reasons, but the monthly payments through the temporary Extended Child Tax Credit made a huge difference in my family’s ability to stay afloat. For a lot of families like mine, The Extended Child Tax Credit was the line between having a utility turned off, or rent being paid, or food on the table. For others it was a desperately needed cushion for emergency car repairs or medical bills, when having a savings often feels like a luxury because we’re so used to living paycheck-to-paycheck. These realities aren’t unusual, and every West Virginian deserves better–We deserve every piece of Build Back Better. Making the Extended Child Tax Credits permanent should be just the start of that conversation.”
– Hunter, a WV Mom, Kanawha County

“The CTC helped me move into a house in a better neighborhood! I used the $250 a month credit towards the higher rent each month. It’s been a blessing to my family! Having a house to ourselves without sharing a yard with 2 other families means so much!”
– Holly, a WV Mom, Marshall County

“The boys’ toilet in their bathroom has been broken for months now, skyrocketing my water bill. As soon as I got the CTC, I went and bought a new toilet and replaced the one in the boys’ bathroom.”
– Courtney, a WV Mom

“We’ve never had internet because I just couldn’t afford it. That made virtual schooling… hard. Because of the CTC, we have internet, and my mind is a little more at ease in case we have to go back to virtual schooling.”
– Emily, a WV Mom

“The CTC made it possible for us to afford a trip to visit grandparents and extended family we had not seen in over two years.”
– Josh and Jenna, WV Parents, Monongalia Co.

“My girls wanted to cheer this year but it’s so expensive. Without the CTC I would have had to tell them they couldn’t do it.”
– Amanda, a WV Mom

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