Socio-economic inequality creates real barriers for working-class communities, particularly poor people of color, live with dignity, to pursue their aspirations and achieve their full potential. These challenging conditions are exacerbated in times of economic crisis.
The Progress Unity Fund supports efforts to tear down the walls of racism and other divisive ideology that perpetuates inequality. Programs funded provide information on gentrification of working-class communities from San Francisco to Chicago to New York, the connections between poverty and racism and the prison-industrial complex, the growing difficulties for poor and working people to get access to education, and more.
The complex issues related to conflict and turmoil around the world often do not make it past the mainstream media barrier, nor can they always be captured in the sound bites of televised news. The Progress Unity Fund supports efforts to produce literature and organize public presentations on efforts taking place in other nations to overcome violent conflict, advance economic development, build real and meaningful independence and forge solidarity among nations.
Educational projects sponsored by the Progress Unity Fund over the years have featured countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The Progress Unity Fund has sponsored public forums featuring labor leaders and organizers for the purpose of disseminating information about issues affecting both union and non-union workers in the United States.
Activists who participated in the Wisconsin labor struggle in early 2011 were featured in workshops and speaking engagements sponsored by the Progress Unity Fund. The Progress Unity Fund supported the production of videos, reports and other educational materials for public dissemination.
Immigrants in the United States face special forms of oppression and are often deprived of basic rights and liberties. The Progress Unity Fund has supported projects aimed at informing the public about the hardships faced by the immigrant community and the tearing apart of families due to deportation laws. These initiatives also clarified and educated the public on the real impact of anti-immigrant measures such as Arizona’s SB 1070 and the “Secure Communities” program, as well as countering the campaign of disinformation spread by anti-immigrant groups such as the Minute Men.
Veterans and active-duty soldiers
As a result of U.S. involvement in prolonged military conflicts, active-duty soldiers and veterans are deeply affected by a host of issues. The Progress Unity Fund participates in efforts to educate and instruct veterans on navigating through the cumbersome and complex system benefits set up by the Veterans Affairs Administration, seeking help for coping with the symptoms of PTSD, and more.
Speaking tours and public meetings featuring veterans and active-duty soldiers to teach the public about the impact of ongoing U.S. wars and occupations have been made possible by the Progress Unity Fund.
Hurricane Katrina Relief
The Progress Unity Fund set up a relief fund in response to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina. Speaking events were organized to educate the public and mobilize support for the people of New Orleans, particularly the poor communities of color which were hit the hardest.
Haiti Emergency Relief
The Sept. 18, 2004 floods in Northwest Haiti caused by Hurricane Jeanne left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless and destitute, with their shops, livestock and crops swept away. The Progress Unity Fund set up an emergency fund in the aftermath of the hurricane for the purposes of providing humanitarian relief and bolster civil society, as well as sponsor an educational component of the campaign for the U.S. public.