Tonight’s Debate to Bring National Attention to Childhood Poverty, Advocacy Groups Turn to Twitter

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With millions of people expected to tune into tonight’s presidential debate - the election season’s much anticipated first meeting between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney -- members of the Every Child Matters Education Fund are seeking to bring childhood poverty to the forefront of the discussion, with help from an unexpected ally: Twitter.

This autumn, the Half in Ten project -- a joint collaboration between the Center for American Progress, the Leadership Conference and the Coalition on Human Needs -- are joining Every Child Matters to harness the power of social networking to potentially shift the national debate towards topics centering around youth poverty. Using the hashtag #TalkPoverty, members of the organizations want Twitter users to submit questions and upload photos and videos of themselves urging the candidates to discuss the many issues anchored around poverty and young people.

In a recent press release, Every Child Matters Education Fund President Michael Petit said that the debates and the Twitter platform represent an excellent opportunity for young people to air their concerns about the nation’s economic problems.

“Many of you will be holding debate-viewing parties and other events throughout this month,” Petit stated. “By putting our faces and actions with our stats and questions on Twitter, we can really make this antipoverty campaign pop.”

The first Presidential debate of the season - the first of four scheduled for October - will take place tonight at 9 p.m. EDT.