ACORN 80 Results

The outcome of the 20/80 campaign was rather mixed. The ACORN Commission was chaired by Mickey Leland, Congressional Representative of Houston, and included ACORN members Elizabeth Martinez of Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Charles Crews of Jacksonville, Florida. 

The commission held hearings on the proposals for increased participation and representation for low- and moderate-income people in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chattanooga, Houston, Los Angeles, and Little Rock. These meetings gave ACORN members opportunities to be a part of the decision making process and to express their views on the Democratic Party's inclusion of low- and moderate-income people in its organization. 

However, the outcome of the commission's recommendations was disappointing. When the commission presented its recommendations to the Democratic National Committee in Philadelphia in 1982, they were merely recommendations for greater inclusion of low- and moderate-income people. This was a far cry from ACORN's recommended quotas on low- and moderate-income representation, Party Organizing Councils to directly represent organized groups of low- and moderate-income people, and removal of all barriers to low- and moderate-income representation in Democratic Party activities. 

Nevertheless, the campaign had won some valuable victories for ACORN and its members. First, it made ACORN a truly national organization of some 30,000 ACORN families across the country. The 20/80 Campaign provided a specific and meaningful goal for expansion and helped to unify an organization that had grown from three states to twenty in only five years. 

Most importantly, it brought together widely different groups of people - Westerners, rural Southerners, big-city Northerners, and more - into a unified group with a shared set of goals. Their ability to work together and have an impact on an institution as large as the National Democratic Party demonstrated the value of a tightly knit national organization.


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