Historic welfare resolution passed at the 1977 Houston women’s conference

In 1977 in Houston, TX, thousands of women took part in the first and only National Women’s Conference mandated by Congress.  Some of us from the Wages for Housework Campaign worked with the leaders of the National Welfare Rights Organization to win a historic resolution.  It rejected workfare and called for welfare to be considered a wage, not charity.  For the past 40 years we have campaigned to get what was won at Houston implemented, and we are now coordinating the National Welfare and Caregivers Network.

We are appealing for help to get to the 40th anniversary event, National Women’s Conference: Taking 1977 into the 21st Century, in Houston Nov. 6-7.  Our delegation has been accepted to present on a panel “Women, Welfare and Poverty: Back to the Grassroots.”

Send your support here.  You can also donate and find out more on GoFundMe. Please share widely on social media!

1977 Houston resolution: Women, Welfare, and Poverty by EveryMotherNetwork on Scribd

EMERGENCY ALERT: HB 59 Passes the Pennsylvania House – URGE GOV WOLF TO VETO IT

URGENT: Please let Governor Wolf know we are counting on him to veto HB 59, a horrendous and potentially deadly bill which would impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, cut transportation and get rid of “non-essential” life-saving benefits.  Contact Gov. Wolf’s office via 717-787-2500; fax: 717-772-8284; https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/.

The National Welfare and Caregivers Network issued an action alert and were among the 173 organizations that signed onto a PA Health Access Network letter opposing HB 59. More details below.

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Article of interest – Invest in caring, not killing: Our collective experience as a grassroots international network of women and men

This article was written by Global Women’s Strike and Payday for the French website Ritimo, where it was printed in the June 2017 edition of their magazine Passerelle, “Féminismes ! Maillons forts du changement social” (“Feminisms! Strong links for social change”), in both French and Spanish. Below is the article in English.

By Phoebe Jones, Global Women’s Strike, and Eric Gjertsen, Payday men’s network

“Holding a vigil for Lt Watada on the street, we met two mothers who held a weekly picket of the city Department of Human Services (DHS) to demand their children back. This is when the DHS Give Us Back Our Children group was formed. We soon found that Philadelphia at the time had the highest rate of taking children of any city of its size in the country. One in ten children in the city have dealings with the child welfare system, and the rate of removal and adoption of Black children is disproportionately high. Lack of housing can mean losing your kids, and Philadelphia has an ongoing housing crisis.

“In the course of organizing, we trained ourselves in a number of ways. We learned how to make a video, and used this to tell the story from the point of view of the mothers – which has rarely been done. (You can view it here).  We learned how to deal with hostile social workers and lawyers who refuse to speak to their clients. (The lack of accountable lawyers, even women, continues to be a deep problem. They are not used to taking direction from poor women or confronting the state on their behalf.) We learned how to gather support inside and outside of court, when to organise public demonstrations, and how to educate and cultivate journalists and academics. We stuck to our principles of self-help, and insisted that the women and men who come for ‘help’ write down a concise summary of their own case so they can work with others but be in charge of the direction.”

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“Stop-and-Frisk” for Caregivers: How Expanded Mandated Reporting Laws Hurt Families (Truthout.org)

Carolyn Hill and Pat Albright of the Philadelphia-based self-help group DHS Give Us Back Our Children, sister to Los Angeles’ DCFS Give Us Back Our Children, are among those who were interviewed and are quoted in this revealing article.  Professor Dorothy Roberts  (author of Shattered Bonds, The Color of Child Welfare and a co-signer of our Amicus Brief to PA Superior Court in support of Carolyn Hill’s plea for custody of her nieces) and Dr Mical Raz (author and professor at University of Pennsylvania who has been supportive of our work) are also quoted in the article.   Please add your comments to the article!

Thursday, June 29, 2017 By Maya Schenwar and Erica Meiners, Truthout | Report

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout)

This story is the tenth piece in the Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of Prisons. This series dives deeply into the impact of incarceration on families, loved ones and communities, demonstrating how the United States’ incarceration of more than 2 million people also harms many millions more — including 2.7 million children.

Imagine your child casually mentioning to her pre-K teacher that she sleeps with you and your partner in the same bed. Or your kind but nosy new neighbor, who has just dropped off some food, noticing that your six-month-old baby sometimes sleeps with you instead of in a crib. Co-sleeping or “bed-sharing” is common, and according to a number of experts, beneficial. However, many states‘ child protective services departments, and the American Academy of Pediatricswarn against it.

If your pre-K teacher suspects your sleeping arrangement is a form of child endangerment, they are legally obligated to call child protective services (CPS). Across the US, teachers are designated as “mandated reporters” to child protective services. But increasingly, mandated reporting laws are expanding to include nearly every single one of us. In 18 states across the United States, if your nosy neighbor, or any other person, suspects that you are putting your child in danger in some way, they are mandated by law to contact CPS and report your actions — potentially resulting in a disruptive investigation and the possible removal of your child.

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Truthout.org: “Welfare Reform” Is Pushing Women Into Unwaged Work — It’s Time to Change That

Sarah Jaffe interviewed Rev. Annie Chambers of Big Momma’s House in Baltimore, Rachel West of US PROStitutes Collective in the SF Bay Area, and Pat Gowens of Welfare Warriors on the RISE Out of Poverty Act, while they were in Chicago for the People’s Summit. You can also hear audio from the interviews on The Baffler website here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017 By Sarah Jaffe, Truthout | Interview

Rev. Annie Chambers speaks at the International Women's Day Gathering Rally in Baltimore, Maryland, March 8, 2017.
Rev. Annie Chambers speaks at the International Women’s Day Gathering Rally in Baltimore, Maryland, March 8, 2017.

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Welfare & Caregivers Delegation and Rep. Gwen Moore at the People’s Summit 2017

Phoebe Jones (Global Women’s Strike, Philadelphia), Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Pat Gowens (Welfare Warriors, Milwaukee) and Reverend Annie Chambers (Big Momma’s House, Baltimore) at People’s Summit 2017. Photos by Rachel West (US PROStitutes Collective, San Francisco Bay Area), who was also a member of the Welfare and Caregivers Delegation to the Summit.

Welfare and Caregivers delegation members Phoebe Jones & Rev. Annie Chambers and Rep. Gwen Moore urging support for the RISE Out of Poverty Act which would make ending child poverty the goal of federal welfare policy

Many thanks to Resist for helping to fund delegation members to attend the People’s Summit!
Resist | P.O. Box 441155 | Somerville, MA 02144 | 617.623.5110  |  info@resist.org | resist.org

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Grassroots anti-poverty activists going to The People’s Summit in Chicago June 9-11

Several thousand people from diverse movements around the country are coming together for the 2017 The People’s Summit, where they will help to create a People’s Agenda. However as it stands now poverty is not part of the agenda, and our delegation will work to change that. Rooted in the movements that came together behind Bernie Sanders, the People’s Summit is attracting organizers from across the country.

Rev. Annie Chambers, Big Momma’s House, Baltimore

Pat Gowens, Welfare Warriors, Milwaukee

Phoebe Jones, Global Women’s Strike, Philadelphia

Margaret Prescod, Women of Color in the GWS, Los Angeles

Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective, SF Bay Area

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Women Speak Out at the DNC, July 26 in Philadelphia

Calling All Women!

Women Speak Out at the DNC

Tuesday, July 26, 12 noon – 2pm
Broad Street Ministry, 315 S. Broad St. Phila.
btw Spruce & Pine, Walnut-Locust stop on Broad St (Orange) Line

All welcome! Childcare ● Refreshments ● Wheelchair accessible

Mothers, grandmas, nurses, teachers, homecare & domestic workers, students, victims of domestic violence, LGBTQ, farmers, campaigners for justice & for the environment, those with disabilities…

Let our voice and demands be heard loud and clear as delegates and protesters gather for the Democratic National Convention. Continue reading

We are participating in the US Social Forums in Philadelphia, PA and San Jose, CA – June 25-28

Margaret Prescod

SAN JOSE: We are pleased to announce that Margaret Prescod, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike, co-founder of Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, and host of Pacifica Radio’s Sojourner Truth, is speaking at the USSF Plenary on Saturday June 27, at 6:30pm, Washington United Youth Center.

And in PHILADELPHIA that Shandre Delaney, mother of prisoner whistleblower Carrington Keys and coordinator of the Justice for the Dallas 6 Support Campaign, will be speaking at the USSF Plenary on Saturday June 27, at 7pm, at Temple University Student Center Room 200.

In both Philadelphia and San Jose

Film screening: Tales of the Grim Sleeper, presented by Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders. Did you know that 200 Black Women are missing in South Los Angeles, 100 suspected to be victims of a serial killer, and that law enforcement referred to the victims as “NHI” (No Humans Involved)? Don’t miss this film! SAN JOSE: THURSDAY 10:30AM @ Sacred Heart Community Services / PHILLY: TBA

Action Table and Petitioning center for the Living Wage for All Workers including Mothers and other Caregivers! Find out how you can get involved in this urgent campaign!

Sign petition: http://bit.ly/livingwage4carers

Donate Now!Please help our grassroots delegation get there!
(Through our fiscal sponsor Women in Dialogue)

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