Film: A People’s Budget – Our Voice, Our Needs, Our Rights

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In times of budget cuts and other austerity measures, advocates and activists are often put on the defensive. As we desperately seek to protect food stamps, housing programs, head start funding and other essential public services, we get pitted against each other and lose sight of what should be obvious: the purpose of our local, state and federal budgets is to meet people’s needs. This means we must demand an entirely different approach to making budgets, one that is grounded in our needs and rights.

The People’s Budget Campaign in Vermont, spearheaded by the Vermont Workers’ Center in collaboration with NESRI, has achieved initial successes to that end: the state is now required by law to develop a budget that addresses needs, advances equity and dignity, and involves people’s participation. While we still have a long way to go to make this a reality in Vermont, we believe that this campaign can inspire human rights budgeting elsewhere.

This video explains how budgets work now, and how they can and should work based on people’s voices, needs and rights.

This video was produced by NESRI in collaboration with the Vermont Workers’ Center. The video was directed by Tatiana McCabe and animated by Jenni Yang, both with Second Heart (

Additional Resources

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