Take Action: End Sequestration
Every day, people in communities across Maine are now seeing that sequestration is real – and the stakes are especially high for struggling families. Head Start Centers are being forced to close early, families are being forced to wait even longer for affordable housing, Women, Infants, and Children are being denied the food and formula needed to help them grow healthy and strong. These are only a few examples of the $85 billion in cuts set to take place in 2013. And these cuts are in place for the next 10 years.
Take action, share your story, and get your elected officials to listen. These reckless across-the-board cuts are just beginning to hit and will continue to impact communities everywhere. This toolkit provides several resources to help you take action with the media, other parents and advocates, and your elected officials – let’s make sure these devastating cuts don’t become a permanent reality in our communities.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Help us end sequestration’s impact on our nation’s most vulnerable:
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
- Write a letter to your Member of Congress
- Tell your story through our story bank
- Deliver a petition to your Senators’ and Representative’s local office
- Speak out at meetings and community events
We can help you with your advocacy.
Contact us at:
New England Campaign Director
47 Hall Street, Suite 3
Concord, NH 03301
Sample Letter to the Editor
To the Editor,
The impact of the sequester is real in [your city or town] and struggling Maine families cannot afford it as a permanent reality.
The cuts are now beginning in our community and it is not just about numbers. It is about real families and children.
My children attend the Head Start program at [name of your program]. This program is important for me and for them because [tell your story here about what Head Start means to you. For example, my child is getting ready for kindergarten because of the things his Head Start teachers are teaching him. I am able to go to work to support my family because Head Start is there for my children everyday.]
Without this program I would not [Examples: be able to go to work, provide the very important early learning experiences my child needs, have the support I need to become a better parent].
Unfortunately, too many in Congress seem comfortable with the sequester’s reckless cuts becoming a permanent reality for our children and their families. There is nothing comfortable about it for [community’s] families like mine.
Cuts to vital programs and services like Head Start and food assistance for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) hurt families and block opportunities to move forward in our quest for economic independence.
This is no way to move families and Maine forward. It is time for Congress to end the sequester cuts.
Did you submit a letter and did it get printed? Let us know so we can help share it! Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Letter to a Member of Congress
The reckless cuts from sequestration are beginning to hit communities in Maine and families like mine.
I live in [city/town] and I am the [mother, father, grandparent, etc] of a child who attends the [Early] Head Start program at [name of your program]. Because of the sequester cuts, my child’s [Early]Head Start program will be [closing early, closing a classroom, eliminating # positions, eliminating transportation, etc]. This action is going to have a serious impact on the program and the families it serves.
Because of [Early] Head Start, my child [give examples of how EHS/HS is important to your child].
If it were not for this Head Start program, I [give examples of how HS is important to you].
Head Start and Early Head Start benefit the children and families of my community in so many ways:
- offers high quality early care and education to many who would not otherwise have the opportunity,
- preparing children to enter school ready to learn,
- results in fewer referrals for special education services,
- helps improves children’s health,
- increasing family stability and parent engagement with their children,
- increasing self-sufficiency.
Research shows that these benefits to children last a lifetime.
Please work with your colleagues in Washington to eliminate these reckless cuts and ensure that children like mine have the opportunities they need to grow strong, healthy and well-educated.
Did you send a letter? Please let us know if you did & if you received a response by sending an e-mail to; email@example.com
Share a Story to Take Action
Too many Maine are not hearing how these cuts are affecting people in their communities.
Help us take action to raise awareness about how the sequester cuts are harming the programs so many people rely upon, by telling your own story about the sequester’s impact, or helping others tell theirs.
Here are 3 easy ways to take action with your story:
- Check out the tips to tell your story.
- Submit your video or written story to our storybank.
- Use other resources in the toolkit to share your story with the media.
By sharing our stories about these reckless cuts, we can make it clear to our elected officials that this is the wrong way to cut the deficit.
Tips to Tell Your Story
Who should submit?
If you, or someone you know, has benefited from vital programs like Head Start, Early Head Start, WIC, unemployment insurance, or other programs facing cuts, then your story will make a difference.
What should you include in your story?
- Who you are – (mother/father, grandparent, service provider, student, business owner, community leader)
- Where you are from (city, state)
- Specific examples of how a cut to the program would impact you, your client, your community, your business, etc.
- Specific examples of how the program has helped, such as:
- Without Head Start/ Early Head Start for my child…..
- If it weren’t for WIC assistance I wouldn’t be able to…….
- If it weren’t for Meals on Wheels being delivered to me….
Here are some specific sample questions for service providers that can help you identify how the program has made a difference. These can be modified for other types of storytellers:
- After enrolling in the [PROGRAM], clients are able to…..
- If it were not for the [PROGRAM], clients would not be able to…
- If [PROGRAM] funding is cut, what will be the impact on your ability to meet need? On the clients you serve?
- What is the benefit of [PROGRAM] to nutrition, Education? Local economies?
Tips for submitting video stories:
Keep it short. Please submit a video that is less than two minutes long.
- Clear sound is crucial. Speak as clearly as possible and keep your eyes on the camera.
- Avoid reference to anything that may date the video or cause unnecessary editing.
- Protect privacy. If you are a service provider, do not share the real names of clients or any identifying details.
- Be specific. Try to be as specific as possible with your examples and avoid generalities.
- Respect copyrights. Logos, trademarks, music, artwork and recognizable buildings may not be used without license from the owner. Cover up logos on clothing, coffee mugs, etc. Do not refer to products by brand name (refer to a can of soup, not a can of Campbell’s soup) or name businesses (refer to the grocery store instead of Hannaford’s).
Submit your story online to our story bank:
It’s easy!! Just send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address. We will send you a permission form to sign and return to us.
Want to keep up to date with what is happening around sequestration? Go to http://www.everychildmatters.org/state-campaigns/maine and sign up for our e-mails and newsletter, Maine Musings!