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Toolkit for our collaboration to eliminate poverty

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

This Toolkit for Communities to Develop and Operationalize Local Anti-Poverty Agendas embodies some of the best collaborative work product of the American Bar Association and anti-poverty stakeholders from around the nation. For three years, it has been my honor to serve as Chair of the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty under the civic-minded leadership of ABA presidents William Hubbard, Paulette Brown and Linda Klein. It has also been my great privilege to work alongside Members, Special Advisors, Liaisons and supporters of the Commission who were willing to suspend disbelief about whether an ABA anti-poverty initiative could make any real difference and join me in travels across the nation to share a hopeful message that lawyers do care about those experiencing poverty and are ready, willing and able to help.

Those who joined us at one of the anti-poverty roundtables experienced a glimpse of the awesome power that we the people can unleash if we remain hopeful and seek and pursue solutions collaboratively. We must collaborate to advocate effectively, and set aside convenient but often divisive intellectual, programmatic and funding silos. This next phase of our great movement towards freedom and justice for all must recognize that poverty is a state or lived experience caused and perpetuated by various, often compounded, factors that must be addressed in a holistic manner and through collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.

The Commission is pleased to present this Toolkit NOT as a resource that purports to provide all the answers to eliminating poverty, but humbly as a compilation of the best practices we have encountered thus far. These best practices are set forth within ten Blueprints for Action providing practical strategies to address the following ten manifestations of poverty: 1. Substandard and unaffordable housing and homelessness; 2. Disproportionate involvement in criminal and civil justice systems; 3. Food inadequacy; 4. Inadequate healthcare and poor health outcomes; 5. Inadequate education outcomes; 6. Lack of opportunity for full employment at a living wage; 7. Living through an unending and continuous cycle of crises; 8. Lack of personal and physical safety; 9. Stigma and lack of personal dignity; 10. Isolation from community and political infrastructure.

We look forward to receiving your feedback on the Toolkit. If you believe this Anti-Poverty Initiative is important and worthy of continued investment of ABA Goal III resources, kindly send a short email or letter to say so to your friends and colleagues serving as ABA Officers, members of the ABA Board of Governors, members of the ABA House of Delegates as well as to ABA Executive Director, Jack Rives (

Sincerely yours in service of others,

Ted Small

Chair, American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness & Poverty

Exhibit at NMAAHC re: Dr. MLK Jr. Poor People's Campaign

National Museum of African American History & Culuture

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