Dr. Henry Louis Gates Keynote Speaker – Center for Diversity Education at UNCA

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, will be the keynote speaker for the commemoration of the UNC Asheville Center for Diversity Education 20th anniversary which will pay tribute to the work of the Asheville Student Committee of Racial Equality from 1960-1965. November 5, 2015 at 7:00 pmThis event is also part of the Real Events Series through the UNC Asheville Cultural and Special Academic Programs.  Seating will begin at 6:00pm and no back packs are permitted.  This event is free and open to the public. Please check the website for admission and updates  as they become available.

Sukkot and Poverty Simulation

Sukkot and Poverty Simulation

In the Jewish tradition, concern for the poor is more important even than building a temple for worship. Sefer Hasidim (a 12th-century legal text) teaches that if a community lacks a place of worship and a shelter for the poor, it is first obligated to build a shelter for the poor. The Jewish holiday of Sukkot commemorates a time when we were homeless and poor, wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt.  Jews are commanded to live in temporary shelters, sukkot, for a week, as a reminder of our plight.  The holiday naturally draws to our minds those who are poor and often live in temporary or no housing all year. It is thus an appropriate time for us to experience the barriers, dilemmas, and degradation suffered by the poor in our community.

Carolina Jews for Justice/West, together with the Asheville Jewish Business Forum invite you to participate in a thought-provoking and illuminating simulation of what it is like to live as a poor person in Asheville today. The program will be provided by the local non-profit organization Just Economics and will take place on Tuesday, September 29, from 4-6 p.m. at the Edington Center, 133 Livingston Street. The cost is $10 and participation will be limited to the first 45 registrants.  To register, please pay through the following link – click here

Do you think you could live on $7.25 an hour or less and support a family in Asheville?

Do you think you could live on $7.25 an hour or less and support a family in Asheville? That’s the current minimum wage for workers in this county and state.

If you feel that’s feasible – then take a look at the following chart prepared by Just Economics and Green Opportunities (GO), two Asheville non-profit groups committed to educating, advocating and organizing for a just and sustainable economy in Western North Carolina. Together we can expand the movement to create a living wage for all who work here. 

Creating a Just & Sustainable 

Local Economy Together

Take Action

As an Individual

As a Business

Contribute Support the efforts of Just Economics and Green Opportunities through your financial contributions Become a Business Sponsor for Green Opportunities

Sponsor Just Economics’ Events

Use GO Kitchen Ready to cater your next event

Act Support responsible public policy that leads to a sustainable local economy

Shop Living Wage Certified

Become Living Wage Certified

Hire GO graduates or become a host organization for student work experience

Purchase business supplies and services from Living Wage Certified Employers and Social Enterprises

Connect Host a GO Meet & Greet to help spread the word

Attend Just Economics’ Bi-monthly meetings

Join our e-mail lists & follow us on social media

Learn more—attend an upcoming poverty simulation 

Join GO’s Employer Resource Council and help to shape our curriculum

Spread the word about Living Wages as part of the largest network of Living Wage Certified Employers in the nation


Measures of Poverty in 2015

Federal Poverty Line (FPL) 200% of  FPL Living Income Standard (2014) JE’s Living Wage
Single Person $11,170 $22,340 $26,000
Family of 2 $15,930 $31,860 $32,931
Family of 3 $20,090 $40,180 $44,200
Family of 4 $24,250 $48,500 $51,391

Federal Poverty Line – This is the definition of poverty used by the U.S. government developed in 1963 by multiplying the Department of Agriculture’s economy food plan for different family sizes and multiplying it by a factor of 3.  It was estimated that food costs accounted for one-third of a family’s budget.  Today, the Department of Health and Human Services adjusts the original number for inflation to get the annual FPL.

200% of the Federal Poverty Line – This is generally considered the threshold for “low-income” families.  Many benefits are determined by this number.

Living Income Standards – The Living Income Standards were developed by the NC Justice Center to more accurately reflect basic needs of working families.  They calculate the costs of 7 basic expenses: housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation, other necessities, and taxes and index these costs based on location and family size.  This number was last updated in 2014.

Just Economics’ Living Wage – Just Economics (JE) has calculated a living wage for a single person living in Buncombe County.  We use the Universal Living Wage formula to figure this number.

Sample Monthly Budget:

The following is the Living Income Standards monthly budget for 1 adult/1 child in Buncombe County.

Take the Challenge:  What would you leave out of this budget if you worked full time for minimum wage ($1,256 monthly, before taxes)?

Take the Challenge:

Housing: _____

Food: _____

Childcare: _____

Health Care: _____

Transportation: _____

Other Necessities _____

Taxes: _____

Total:             $1,256

Sample Monthly Budget

Housing: $777

Food: $256

Childcare: $604

Health Care: $240

Transportation: $377

Other Necessities: $264

Taxes: $303

Total:         $2,821

Join the NAACP’s Journey for Justice


America’s Journey for Justice, a march across the South to Washington, DC, will pass through North Carolina at the end of this month. Led by our partners at the NAACP, the march takes on a different theme as it passes through each state. We are proud that many rabbis and members of the NC Jewish community will join marchers for our state theme of voting rights.

More volunteer marchers are needed! To sign up as a volunteer, visit the NAACP’s site. You can march for a single day, multiple days, or the entire length of the North Carolina leg. You can also RSVP to the Facebook event.

If you plan to march, let us know!

Voting Rights Shabbat and Voter Engagement

    • Next Shabbat, August 7-8, is Voting Rights Shabbat, sponsored by the United Synagogue for Conservative Judaism and Bend the Arc, a national Jewish social justice organization.  For more information, please click on the link VotingRightsShabbat2015-finalpacket.
    • CJJ/West is co-sponsoring an event to encourage people to focus on voter engagement with a Dance for Democracy on Friday, August 14, from 8- midnight at the Orange Peel.  Tickets are $10. More information is available at http://theorangepeel.net/events/dance-for-democracy/

Learn First Hand About the Difficulty of Living on Minimum Wage in WNC

Save the Date

Join us for a special opportunity to learn first hand how difficult it is to living on a minimum wage salary in WNC. We invite you to participate in a poverty simulation with Just Economics on Tuesday, September 29 from 4-6 p.m. at the Edington Center. The cost is $10 and participation will be limited to the first 45 registrants. More information about payment will be forthcoming.

WNC Participates In Several Upcoming Racial Justice Programs

    • A special evening and exhibit called Americans Who Tell the Truth will begin with a reception on September 19 at the YMI Cultural Center.  The exhibit is a traveling exhibition of 52 inspiring portraits of courageous Americans by artist Robert Shetterly.  CJJ is sponsoring a painting of the late Paul Wellstone, a Jew and US Senator (who went to school in NC) and who fought for social justice his whole life.  A feature of the event will be the unveiling of a portrait of North Carolina’s own NAACP President, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, who will be present for the occasion, accompanied by the artist.  Get tickets to the event at http://www.eventbee.com/v/americanswhotellthetruth
    • Building Bridges is starting a new seminar on the dynamics of racism and how it has impacted our relationships, institutions and community.  The session runs from September 10 to November 5 from 7-9pm at AB Tech and costs $35. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn together how to improve our interactions. For more information go to http://www.buildingbridges-ashevillenc.org/#!register/cee5 or call 828 -777-4585
    • The Racial Equity Institute  (http://rei.racialequityinstitute.org/) is offering a two-day workshop on October 16-17 for people of color and white people who are committed to eliminating racism. It provides an analysis that helps participants gain clarity about how racism is organized and how to work to disrupt its powerful influence. For more information and to register contact Laura Eshelman (eshelmanlaura@gmail.com) or Isabel Carson (carson.isabel@gmail.com)
    • Beginning in August, the Reform Movement will join the NAACP on —an historic 860-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to Washington, D.C. The Religious Action Center is organizing hundreds of rabbis in partnership with the NAACP for the Journey, which will mobilize activists and advance a focused advocacy agenda that protects the right of every American to a fair criminal justice system, uncorrupted and unfettered access to the ballot box, sustainable jobs with a living wage, and equitable public education. It is expected that the march will be in North Carolina between August 20-29. Specific places and dates are still being planned. Please go to  http://www.naacp.org/ajfj to keep updated. We hope we can mobilize Jews and non-Jews to march together to show support for voting rights