NESRI works with community partners to build a broad-based movement for economic and social rights, bringing together struggles for education, health, housing and work with dignity to create a cohesive platform for economic equity and social justice in the United States.
The United States fails to protect and fulfill the economic and social rights of its people. This failure affects the entire population, as millions lack health care, face foreclosures and evictions, toil in low wage jobs, are pushed from schools into prisons, and struggle to feed their families in the world’s most prosperous country. But resistance is growing everywhere and communities are organizing for change. As grassroots struggles for the rights to education, health, housing and work with dignity are gaining strength across the country, NESRI supports the creation of a cohesive platform for structural change in the United States. Just as human rights are indivisible, spanning all aspects of people’s lives, the diverse struggles for making these rights a reality are closely linked, enabling us to forge a unified vision for equity and justice.
Among the key drivers behind growing inequity and systemic poverty are the reliance on market mechanisms to satisfy fundamental needs, inequitable tax policies, and an ideology of competitive individualism infused with the myth that people can ‘pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.’ The persistence of structural racism means that people of color are especially affected by these injustices. While the United States is a deeply divided and unequal country, its people have a long history of coming together to fight for their rights. From the abolitionist movement to the fight for women’s rights and the civil rights struggle, people’s movements have achieved significant political and social change. Now the time has come for a new human rights movement, grounded in a broad and unified vision for a society in which all people and communities live with dignity, enjoy their rights to education, health, housing, work with dignity and an adequate standard of living, and have the power to shape governance and policymaking.