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  • Molly Lee

Changing How We Talk About Money



How does money make you feel?

If you’re a low-income person, probably not great! Money is always tight, and it’s hard to make ends meet. Money is something you spend.

Or maybe you’re a middle-income earner. You’re not poor, you’re not rich, you’re somewhat comfortable. Money is something you manage.

Or maybe you’re a wealthy person. You understand how money works. You budget like a pro. Money is something you earn and have.

No matter how you feel about money, you have to admit that in this country, we don’t talk about money very often. But we should. Workers should talk about their wages. – it’s how they can realize how much more money their bosses make, and how working women and workers of color can realize their white, male coworkers are making more money for the same work. We should talk more openly about debt, because it will lead to deeper commitment to making education, health care, housing, and transportation, (some of the largest sources of debt in the nation) more affordable – or even free. When we talk about where we are with our money, we create opportunities to change it. If we don’t ever mention that we’re broke and can’t afford lunch, there’s no way for our friends to know we need help and to buy us a burrito!

And don’t even think about ASKING for someone else to give you their money. Unheard of! You’re supposed to lift yourself up by the bootstraps, handle yourself, and don’t ask for handouts. Or at least that’s the worldview we have, and hear from many sources: consumerism, hyperindividualism, and disconnection from the people around us who may struggle to get by. “Not my problem,” people say, stepping past a houseless person, or walking past picketing workers to grab a hamburger.

We believe there is a better way for us to think. We need to change our worldview to one where we care about others. We need to have important, forbidden conversations that take power away from those who want to exploit us. It’s not always comfortable to talk about money, but hey, that’s life in the extractive, exploitative economy.

As a nonprofit, we want to raise money. But we also want to shift the culture around money, get rid of the stigma attached to talking about money, and make it very clear that people can invest in a better future by giving to OPAL.

That’s what the EJ Champions campaign is about. EJ Champions are the community of OPAL supporters who help us organize resources, and this year they are going to raise $50,000 by August 31st!

Since launching the campaign July 11th, the response has been incredible. More than 50 people have stepped forward to build power with us by asking their community to support OPAL! But we still need more people to join and help us meet – and maybe even blow past – our goal. Will you be one of them? Join this important conversation! Call 503 774 4503, or email shawn@opalpdx.org, if you wanna become an EJ Champion. You can help OPAL talk about money, change the conversation, and make people in your life feel good about giving.

OPAL is the recipient of a challenge grant from NWGSDPDX, who sell the “In Our America” flag and give the proceeds to worthwhile causes. They challenged us to raise an additional $5,000 through EJ Champions – and we accepted! Right now, new contributions are doubled by the challenge grant! Double your investment in frontline community power today! Ali from NWGSDPDX says, “OPAL is an organization that fights for environmental justice and teaches community members who are most affected by inequalities to be leaders and to take action. One of the tenets of the “In Our America” flag is: “People & Planet are Valued Over Profit.” NWGSDPDX recognizes OPAL’s efforts in that arena and we are thrilled to be donating money to support their mission.”

Reposted with permission from OPAL. Read the original post.


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