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Volunteers erect a Habitat for Humanity home in Chicago, Ill., as part of an unprecedented building blitz in the heart of downtown Chicago. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty for Habitat For Humanity)

The state of affordable housing in America

01/16/15 12:11PM

Leaving his parents’ house at 18, Kenneth Harris had no idea it would take nearly 30 years before he would once again reap the benefits of a stable home. After returning from service with the U.S. Army, Harris had no savings and ended up homeless. On Father’s Day in 2008, Harris decided it was time to change his life. He began by researching... read more

Attendees make signs at the offices of 32BJ SEIU, a workers union, during a viewing party for U.S. President Barack Obama's speech on evecutive action immigration policy reform on Nov. 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty)

The state of immigration reform in America

01/19/15 09:06PM

Major changes are in the works for the nation as we get ready for President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, bolstering his new, bolder agenda for the nation for the rest of his term. ... read more

Low wage U.S. federal contract workers hold a strike rally, asking for a $15 per hour minimum wage, in front of the Capitol in Washington Nov. 13, 2014. (Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters)

The state of inequality in America

01/18/15 02:59PM

The president has an opportunity in the State of the Union to tell the truth about the economy: Jobs are coming back, but wages aren’t. In December, the average wage actually dropped. ... read more

Carl Gilbert (R), of Upper Manhattan Work Force 1 Career Center, meets with a woman looking for a job at a jobs fair at the Bronx Public Library on Sept. 17, 2014 in the Bronx Borough of New York, N.Y. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty)

The state of the economy in America

01/16/15 12:19PM

When President Obama turns to the economy in this year’s State of the Union speech, I’m confident you’re going to hear more confidence. The familiar two-step may well become a one-step.Let me explain. Since he took office, President Obama’s discussion of the economy has always had two parts: explain how things are getting better but quickly... read more

An election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early voting polling site on Feb. 26, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Eric Gay/AP)

The state of voting in Texas

01/18/15 05:32PM

This country has a long and complicated history with voting rights. Though universal suffrage was granted in 1920, it took years of organizing to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and finally secure unencumbered access to polling places. Now, nearly five decades later, politicians in Texas have been systematically chipping away at those... read more

Same-sex couples Todd (2nd R), and Jeff Delmay with Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello (L) get married at the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, Florida, Jan. 5, 2015. (Photo by Javier Galeano/Reuters)

The state of LGBT equality in America

01/18/15 05:54PM

If you want to understand the state of the union for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, you should begin with the new faces in Congress. It’s undeniable President Obama continues to be a true champion of equality—and he’s joined by a bipartisan coalition in both the House and the Senate in fighting for pro-equality measures... read more

The State of human rights in America

If he's serious about promoting human rights at home, Obama should use the remainder of his term to push for accountability for torture, end the bulk collection of communications data, bring the legal framework for his counterterrorism policies into the light for public debate and review, and continue the push to close Guantanamo, as he... read more

Demonstrators remember Michael Brown with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march from the apartment complex where he was killed to the Ferguson police station on Jan. 19, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)

The state of human rights in America

01/20/15 12:01PM

If he's serious about promoting human rights at home, Obama should use the remainder of his term to push for accountability for torture, end the bulk collection of communications data, bring the legal framework for his counterterrorism policies into the light for public debate and review, and continue the push to close Guantanamo, as he... read more

People wait in line to vote at busy polling facility on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colo.

The state of the youth vote in America

01/20/15 12:48PM

The Millennial generation is the largest and most diverse in the United States – 93 million strong, 43% from communities of color, outnumbering even the Baby Boomers.  Despite making up over one-third of the population and holding the power to become the most influential voting bloc in the country, young people are frustrated with the political... read more

A woman holds an anti-fracking sign as a group of demonstrators gather for a rally for a Global Climate Treaty Dec. 10, 2014 near the United Nations in New York. (Photo by Don Emmert/AFP/Getty)

The state of the climate movement in America

01/19/15 05:49PM

As we enter 2015, the state of the climate movement is strong. Over the last year, we have grown in leaps and bounds. Together, we turned out over 400,000 people into the streets of New York City during last September’s People’s Climate March. It was the largest demonstration for climate action in history--and the largest march on any issue for... read more

"The Spirit of East Harlem" mural in "EL BARRIO," Harlem, New York Aug. 10, 2014. A bubbling Hispanic cultural stew is brewing in New York, spiced by Latin American newcomers. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The state of immigration in America

01/18/15 05:38PM

While the news of recent days has been about another GOP rejection of immigration reform, there is a growing question whether the recent, significant wave of Hispanic migration into the US is hitting some kind of societal tipping point. Consider: ... read more

U.S. President Barack Obama departs the South Lawn of the White House in Washington Jan. 15, 2015. (Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters)

Obama takes aim at the wealthy with populist new tax plan

01/18/15 01:09PM

Democrats campaigned on income inequality in 2014, to little success. As President Obama prepares for the State of the Union this week—and Democrats gear up for 2016—he’s trying to shift the party’s economic message to a new target: wealth inequality.Democrats have offered one proposal after another to tax the wealthy to benefit the ordinary... read more

Fast food workers, healthcare workers and their supporters shout slogans at a rally and march to demand an increase of the minimum wage to 15USD per hour, in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2014. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)

The state of low-wage America

01/18/15 05:08PM

Perhaps the most important development for struggling American families over the past two years has been the emergence of stagnant wages as a major issue – redefining our political debate and spurring direct intervention to raise pay at the state and local level.  While it was Occupy Wall Street that initially focused attention on our nation’s... read more