Equally American Blog

  • “I am José” Campaign Launched as Supreme Court Considers U.S. v. José L. Vaello Madero

    Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments in United States v. José Luis Vaello Madero, a case that will have broad implications for the 3.5 million citizens living in U.S. territories – 98% of whom are racial or ethnic minorities. Two courts have already ruled in the case that the denial of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to citizens in the territories based solely on their place of residence violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection. It is estimated that about 450,000 citizens in the territories stand to receive SSI benefits if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mr. Vaello Madero. Countless others are forced to live in the states, since moving home to the territory they are from would mean losing their benefits. In short, Mr. Vaello Madero’s story is the story of so many thousands of others whose lives have been fundamentally altered by these discriminatory federal policies. Equally American is working to elevate these individual stories through its new “I am José” campaign, which features faces and voices from each of the other territories that have been impacted by the denial of SSI.

  • SSI and Medicaid Expansion for U.S. Territories Included in Build Back Better Draft Text

    Earlier today Congress released the draft text of the proposed budget reconciliation bill, including what would be historic expansions of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and Medicaid to residents of U.S. territories. If Congress acts based on this draft language, it could mean monthly SSI checks of up to $794 directly to more than 300,000 of the most vulnerable residents of U.S. territories. The proposed Medicaid expansion would bring these programs much closer to full parity, greatly expanding healthcare availability for low-income territorial residents.

  • Telling the Story How Federal Benefits Discrimination Impacts Real People in U.S. Territories

    Over the next several weeks the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether denying Supplemental Security Income benefits to residents of U.S. territories is unconstitutional, and Congress will decide whether to include the extension of SSI benefits to residents of U.S. territories in the upcoming budget reconciliation bill. As decisionmakers in Washington take up these issues, Equally American is reaching out to the community to help identify people whose lives have been impacted by this ongoing discrimination by the federal government.

  • Insular Cases Conversation Kicks Off Racial Justice Series

    Guam Attorney General Leevin Camacho and DC Attorney General Karl Racine joined Columbia Law Professor Christina Ponsa-Kraus and ACLU Attorney Adriel Cepeda Derieux in Part I of EA's three-part Racial Justice Series, moderated by Equally American's President Neil Weare. 

  • Speaker Series To Examine America’s Colonies Problem Through a Racial Equity Lens


    This Fall, Equally American is hosting an exciting three-part series that will bring together a diverse array of thought leaders to examine the connection between racism and the ongoing disenfranchisement and discrimination faced by residents of U.S. territories. Equally American is a nonprofit organization that advocates for equality and civil rights for the 3.5 million citizens who live in U.S. territories – 98% of whom are racial or ethnic minorities.

  • New Window of Opportunity For Expanding SSI to Territories Through Reconciliation

    Equally American calls on Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer to deliver on President Biden’s promise to extend SSI to citizens in U.S. territories

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