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Support the RISE Act and Reintroduction of the WORK Act!

End poverty of mothers & children. Recognize caregiving work.
Sign the petition to US Congress • 40+ current endorsersPlease add your organization today! Send this letter to your mailing lists and contacts.

For the first time in decades there is a piece of legislation and one we want reintroduced in the US Congress that recognize the work of mothers.

The RISE Out of Poverty Act (Gwen Moore, D-WI) would make ending child poverty the primary goal of TANF. The Women’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act which needs to be reintroduced into Congress (was introduced in the last Congress by former Congressman Pete Stark, D- CA), recognized that raising children is vital work, and would give mothers the option of raising young children fulltime at home under current welfare legislation (TANF). The two bills together are a power for mothers everywhere, whether we are low income or not. They begin to finally value and provide resources for mothers and to undermine the growing poverty of women and children.

Sign the petition to US CongressCall to ActionJoin the growing list of endorsing organizationsAbout the bills • Letter to Members of Congress, Congressional Black Caucus • Letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer • 2Pac: Dear MamaMore…

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End racial, income & education bias in the child welfare system – Reunite Ms Carolyn Hill with her Nieces!

Carolyn Hill with her grandchildren
Carolyn Hill with her grandchildren

Defend the Hill family from racial, income, gender & education bias in the child welfare system! Sign the petition demanding the Philadelphia Department of Human Services return two girls unjustly taken from their aunt who was their full time caregiver.Not being a high school grad or having a GED must not used as a reason to remove children from their caregiver!

Sign the petition to DHSWhat you can doAug 20 hearingBackgroundOutrage at UN AwardMore…

There is a lot at stake in this fight:

  • the right of low-income people to raise children;
  • the right of children, especially those who have been traumatized, to one-on-one care and the right of caregivers to answer this vital need for care;
  • the right of family members to legal representation and to have standing in court; and
  • holding DHS, child advocates & agencies to account before they decide to demolish families.

Your help is needed! There is much to do to win justice for these children and their carer!

Reinstate Black studies professors Maxwell Stanford and Tony Monteiro!

Dr. Maxwell Stanford

Dr. Maxwell Stanford

Dr. Tony Monteiro

Dr. Tony Monteiro

We are appalled at the firing of two distinguished and much respected educators from Temple University Black Studies.  Professors Stanford and Monteiro have helped bridge the gap between the community and the university, making some university resources available to the community while bringing vital and current community ideas and energy to the university.  They have helped keep Black Studies rooted in and relevant to the Black community and to the entire city, while ensuring that the history of Black people and of the movement against racism which Black people have led, is not lost to future generations, whatever our race.  For those of us working against the poverty and increasing incarceration of women and children, in particular of women and children of color, who are the poorest of the poor in a city that has the highest rate of extreme poverty for any city of its size in the nation, this loss moves Temple even more in the direction of the ivory tower, at best arrogantly abandoning the community it should be serving, at worst catering to the most narrow-minded and prejudiced forces in the city.  We call for the reinstatement of Professors Stanford and Monteiro now!

Phoebe Jones Schellenberg, PhD from Temple University, with the Global Women’s Strike and a founder of the Temple Community Campus Women’s Fitness Club from the 1980s

Selma James, international coordinator, Global Women’s Strike, who has spoken at Temple

Margaret Prescod, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike

Pat Albright, mother of Temple grad, with Every Mother is a Working Mother Network

Malcolm Albright, Temple graduate

Betty Ann Workman, Temple graduate 1956 and educator

Carolyn Hill, DHS – Give Us Back Our Children

David Gibson, Peacehome Campaigns

Dean Kendall and Eric Gjertsen, Payday men’s network

Marie Fitzpatrick, a founder of the Temple Community Campus Women’s Fitness Club, educator

Tonya Wenger, current Temple graduate school student

Walter Smolarek, current Temple student

Please email us or leave a comment below if you wish to add your name.  We urge you also to read Dr. Monteiro’s statement and sign the petitions below.

“It is far larger than me. It’s also about the children in Norris Homes. It is about the human beings that inhabit the two poorest zip codes in Philadelphia, which are neighbors to Temple. It’s about them. It’s about the kids harassed by the police and told keep it moving you don’t belong here. It’s about the closing down of Saturday Free Schools and W.E.B Du Bois Lectures and Symposia that opened the classrooms and lectures halls to the poor and working class.” – Dr. Tony Monteiro from his statement to the press, February 12, 2014

“REINSTATE A GREAT,” Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Commentary on Dr. Monteiro’s Struggle (from Prison Radio).

Distributed by: Global Women’s Strike philly@globalwomenstrike.net
215-848-1120 www.globalwomenstrike.net

More info at Justice for Dr. Anthony Monteiro (Facebook)

From the Black Left Unity Network

Petitioning Temple University Administration and Board of Trustees
Reinstate Profs Tony Monteiro and Max Stanford NOW!

Sign online here: http://chn.ge/Mmu1ai

Petition from Educators for Mumia Abu Jamal

A Call For The Reinstatement Of Temple University’s Dr. Anthony Monteiro


A grandmother’s DHS ordeal (Philadelphia Daily News)

The Philadelphia Daily News published this important article on Thursday about grandmother Janice Brown’s many-year struggle to reunite with her grandchildren.

Please add your comments on the original article and below. (If you don’t see comments at that link, go to philly.com and search for “A grandmother’s DHS ordeal”).

Our letter to the editor (not yet published):

“Our hearts go out to Ms. Brown and her grandchildren [A Grandmother’s Ordeal, Feb 6].   Their pain is not unique, as we know from the steady stream of distressed mothers, grandmothers, aunts…. who contact us.  Carolyn Hill is another loving caregiver whose nieces, placed in her care by DHS, were later removed by DHS, the only true reason given that she did not have a GED or high school diploma.  She too was denied standing in court despite being in the adoption process and despite active support from her family, church, neighbors, state rep, women’s organizations, a pro-bono lawyer and even her former DHS social worker.  It is because of the rubber stamping by courts of DHS’ and child advocates’ racial, gender and class profiling, financial incentives for agencies to keep kids in care, lack of good or any legal help, and a bias toward punishing low-income families rather than helping them, that Philadelphia has the distinction of the highest rate in the country for a city of its size of removing children from their homes.  The trauma for children, first losing parents, then in foster care – where nationwide one third report abuse by an adult – is ignored.”

A grandmother’s DHS ordeal

Janice Brown has been fighting to get her grandchildren back after placement by DHS. Her daughter died in a car accident that killed 4 in the Feltonville section of the city in 2009. In the picture are Janice Brown with grandson Kyshone Smith, 7, and in background are husband Maurice West and her son Dontay Gilliam, 14. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )
Janice Brown has been fighting to get her grandchildren back after placement by DHS. Her daughter died in a car accident that killed 4 in the Feltonville section of the city in 2009. In the picture are Janice Brown with grandson Kyshone Smith, 7, and in background are husband Maurice West and her son Dontay Gilliam, 14. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

Help prisoner family members get to Sacramento hearings

End Long Term Solitary Confinement
Support the Prisoner-led Movement and their Family Members

Following the historic hunger and work strike by over 30,000 incarcerated people in California prisons, California legislators committed to hold a series of hearings to investigate and work to end the conditions of solitary confinement.

On February 11th, in Sacramento, the Public Safety Committees of the CA legislature will hold their second hearing on conditions in these isolation units.  The California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is refusing to allow prisoners themselves, the most important witnesses, to testify.  Prisoners have testified at legislative hearings before.  Contact CDCR officials and urge them to allow the voices of the prisoners to be heard.

California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) worked tirelessly to organize solidarity protests during the strike.  It’s mainly women – mothers, partners, daughters, sisters, grandmothers – who do most of the justice work for their loved ones in prison.  Family members were visible and vocal during the hunger strikes (the last one was the 3rd hunger strike) and remain a vital voice and support for their loved ones inside.  As many family members as possible must have the resources to attend the hearing.

The Global Women’s Strike and Women of Color/GWS are asking you to help ensure the presence and participation of family members of prisoners in the hearings by donating towards their transport and lodging.

To help family members get to Sacramento, please donate to CFASC – go to www.abolishsolitary.com, scroll down to the DONATE button at the lower left.

All are invited to go to Sacramento for the Feb 11th hearing.  See the flyer for more information.

Also, see the three action proposals the hunger strikers have asked us all to work on, see below.

Please do all you can to support the prisoners who put their lives on the line and fought for us all during last summer’s Prisoner Hunger Strike, and let the legislature know that Californians do not support the use of solitary confinement!

Distributed by Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike and GWS/LA
323-276-9833  la@allwomencount.net  www.globalwomenstrike.net

The benefit cap is supporting state child abuse – article in The Guardian, UK

Important article below about a legal challenge to the proposed family benefits cap in the UK, exposing how domestic violence is now the main reason children are taken from their mothers in England, and how the secrecy of family court tears families apart.

“After reading this news article, it truly saddens us greatly, that this violence continues to happen over and over to women and children who should be protected by the system but are usually the ones that are victimized by the system. We were successful in 2013 in helping to open the secret children’s court in Los Angeles to the public and press, exposing many more horrors. We share much of the same injustice here in the US, as members of DHS/DCFS GIVE US BACK OUR CHILDREN we support the efforts of the authors’ campaign to stop the benefit cap any way we can.”

— Wanda, a grandmother active in DCFS Give Us Back Our Children (Los Angeles) who successfully fought to keep her grandchildren in the family.

Please go onto the Guardian website and add your comment: Jump to comments

Comment is free

The benefit cap is supporting state child abuse

As a family brings a legal challenge to the £500 limit, the treatment of mothers in violent relationships is brought into sharp relief

Lisa Longstaff theguardian.com, Tuesday 28 January 2014 11.11 GMT

Today a legal challenge to the benefit cap will be brought by three families, two of them victims of domestic violence, in the court of appeal. The benefit cap has wide implications. Solicitor Rebekah Carrier describes it as “catastrophic, cruel and arbitrary”. The cap limits a family’s total benefits to £500 a week (including child benefit) and mothers and children can be left destitute after paying extortionate rents, even for social housing and refuges. As a result, many may be trapped, unable to leave their home and tied to the income of a violent partner. Women Against Rape have issued a petition to end it.

One family, a mother and three daughters, was in refuges and temporary accommodation, moving six times before they could safely return home. If they lose this appeal, they may be left, after rent, with no food money (emergency payments from the local authority are discretionary and temporary), and this by itself is a reason that children can be taken into care. For now mother and children are together. But for how long?

Domestic violence is commonly used to take children away from their mothers. Cathy Ashley, chief executive of the charity Family Rights Group (FRG), has said: “Our data tells us … that the state’s way of dealing with domestic violence is often to end up with a child being made subject to child protection plans.” The FRG documents that domestic violence – not parental mental illness, drugs or alcohol – is now the main reason children are taken from their mothers. No one so far, except grief-stricken mothers, has called this forced separation for what it is: state child abuse. Continue reading

People’s Hearing on Prison Expansion POSTPONED – now next Wed, Feb 12

Please note that the People’s Hearing has been postponed due to the snowstorm to next Wednesday, February 12th at 1pm in Harrisburg. We’ll be going and we hope you’ll join us.  Details on the Decarcerate PA website and Facebook. They have filled two buses from Philly and are trying to raise funds for a third. You can donate online, or by mailing a check to Decarcerate PA, PO Box 40764 Philadelphia, PA 19107. If you registered for the bus for February 5th, please let Decarcerate know if you can still make it on February 12th by emailing decarceratepa@gmail.com or calling (267) 217-3372. 

Candlelight vigil for families torn apart: Dec 18, Philadelphia

Carolyn Hill flanked by supporters as we were gathering on sidewalk in front of DHS with the city’s Christmas Village in the background.

About 20 people, mainly women of color, braved the cold to join Carolyn Hill outside the Department of Human Services in lighting candles for loved ones we are separated from this holiday season due to the foster care system, prison system, immigration policies, poverty, war…  Ms Hill’s nieces were taken from her care by DHS because she lacked a GED.  This is her second Christmas without them, and they without her. It was announced that Kimberly Rivera has been freed from prison and reunited with her newborn and family for the holidays.  But Chelsea Manning, Mumia Abu Jamal, Maroon Shoatz, the Dallas 5 (among them Andre Jacobs, Anthony Locke, Carrington Keys, Duane Peters), the CA Prisoner Hunger Strikers and many other family members who were remembered on this day with the lighting of candles remain separated from us. The candlelight vigil was covered by Channel 10 NBC Local News.

The vigil was sponsored by: DHS Give Us Back Our Children, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, Global Women’s Strike & Women of Color in the GWS, Human Rights Coalition, and Payday men’s network. It was co-sponsored/endorsed by: AFSC Prison Watch, Pastor Antionette Johnson King Solomon Baptist Church, Artists for Recovery, Brandywine Peace Community, The Center for Returning Citizens, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mass Incarceration Working Group of Germantown Friends Meeting, Peacehome Campaigns, Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO), Shandre Delaney mother of Carrington Keys of the Dallas 5, Why Not Prosper, X-Offenders for Community Empowerment, and Youth Art & Self-Empowerment Project (YASP)

Karen Lee of Human Rights Coalition and Saving Our Loved Ones (SOLO) next to a holiday card that all could sign.

Photos and Report: Justice for Our Children! Keep Children’s Court Open to the Public!

Speak out and Vigil outside LA Children’s Court

On Wednesday, December 18th mothers, grandmothers, fathers and other supporters joined together outside LA Children’s Court to oppose re-closing LA’s Juvenile Court to the public. The California Appeals Court had released a tentative decision to close Children’s Court, hearing final arguments on Thursday, Dec.19th.

Organized in just a few days by DCFS Give Us Back Our Children and Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, the press conference, vigil and speak out said that dependency court secrecy puts children in danger. Among large metropolitan areas, LA County has one of the highest rates of removing children from their families, with 34% of them Black, while children needing protection don’t always get it. The same day, Dec. 18th, the Los Angeles Times carried a front page report that found fully 1/3 of children in foster care in LA County suffer abuse and some have been killed.

There was a hard fought and successful battle to end the secrecy in LA’s Dependency Court resulting in Judge Michael Nash, the Presiding Judge of LA Juvenile Court, ordering in January 2012 that Children’s Court be open to the press and public. The aim was to improve accountability and transparency. His order does protect children’s privacy by allowing minors and family members to request the court be closed to the public and press when their case is being heard. Dependency courts have been opened in over a dozen other states with no negative impacts. If the appeals court closes them, California would be the first state to re-close these courts after they’ve been opened. Dependency Court lawyers and the union representing social workers have long opposed opening the courts.

Determined to show support for keeping Children’s Court open so important decisions that impact removing children from their families are not made without public knowledge, we gathered outside the court with signs, banners and raised voices. The vigil included representatives of DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, the Global Women’s Strike & Women of Color/GWS, the Womenscircle@OccupyLA and other family members whose children are being detained by LA Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

Others who also supported this action pressing to keep the court open include: Alexandria House; Californians United for a Responsible Budget; Art Goldberg, Working People’s Law Center; Mimi Kennedy, actress; LA Community Action Network; Mary Sutton, LA No More Jails Coal & Critical Resistance; Western Regional Advocacy Project; and the Youth Justice Coalition.

Continue reading

URGENT ACTION ALERT Justice for our Children! Keep Children’s Court Open to the Public!

Vigil and Speak Out

Wednesday, Dec. 18th gather 11:30 am

Edelman Children’s Court
201 Centre Plaza Drive, Monterey Park CA 91754

There was a hard fought and successful battle to open Children’s Court BUT NOW, the California Appeals Court is about to rule THIS WEEK Dec 19th that Children’s Court must be closed.

Thursday, Dec. 19th, gather at 9:30am CA Appeals Court, Reagan State Bldg, 300 S. Spring St. on the 3rd floor. Case will be heard at 10:30.

Come support children, mothers, grandmothers. Keep Children’s Court Open!

Called by DCFS Give Us Back Our Children and Every Mother is a Working Mother Network

Endorsers: Alexandria House; Californians United for a Responsible Budget; Global Women’s Strike & Women of Color/GWS; Art Goldberg, Working People’s Law Center; Mimi Kennedy, actress; LA CAN; Mary Sutton, LA No More Jails Coal & Critical Resistance; Western Regional Advocacy Project; Women’circle@OccupyLA; Youth Justice Coalition

For more info: 323-276-9833 
la@allwomencount.net www.everymothernetwork.net

Continue reading