Everyone knows that members of the Debt Collective launched the first student debt strike in history and forced a change to federal law, resulting in hundreds of millions in debt relief (so far - we're still fighting!).
Fewer people know that we are also working together to spread the word that we don't have to go into debt for basic needs like health care and education. We can have those things – and more – if we stand together and fight for them.
Last week, a group of DC members attended a canvassing training event hosted in Boston by Harvard University's Clinic on Predatory Student Lending. Attendees worked on refining a series of policies, including free public college tuition and a student debt jubilee, that we all want to see become reality.
We also trained to spread the word about our fight and our vision for a positive future by canvassing our neighborhoods this spring and summer.
Here's what some attendees said about their experience:
Chris said: "I have learned that there are a lot of issues many Americans face to survive each day. Debt comes in many forms: healthcare, housing, credit card, payday lending, college loans, etc. I am learning the more we come together and discuss the issues we face, the easier it is to see what causes them. This also allows us to brainstorm solutions to change the economic inequalities and oppression people have been facing. If we begin to organize in our communities we can build collective power to fight for a better future for all of us."
Forrest said: "I Loved learning about how we could transform our country. It was awesome knowing more people believed in these policies than I thought. I used to feel like I was alone and it took over my emotions a lot. Now I don't feel that way so much. It was also nice to go out and eat and have a good time!"
Sanders said: "During the recent meeting in Boston, Debt Collective members discussed not only the current fights with schools and student debt but also big picture concepts regarding how debt is being used as a predatory form of control by those on top. We need to broaden our scope to include all types of debt because debt as a whole is a form of control. If we expand, this will create more awareness for the Debt Collective and thereby create more awareness for the fight against student debt as its own specific issue."
Kim said: "I wish I had learned about all of the policies we discussed in high school! Learning about the positive vision was a big eye opener for me."
Denise said: "Just having the knowledge of what rights we have has opened my eyes to what needs to be done in order to make more people aware and share this knowledge. We all need to stand together and fight for what is rightfully ours."
Karbia said: "Debt Collective is ever growing and immortal."
We also had plenty of fun after the work was done.