Friday, February 13, 2009

End Poverty! If not now, when?

I have noticed that it's taken a while for really poor people to feel the effects of the economic downturn. And why is that? Because we've got so little to lose! We don't own homes so we have no homes to lose. We don't have pension funds so the Bernie Madoffs of this world have nothing to steal from us. And for those of us who work at Taco Bell and Dunkin Donuts, it's only as working class and other poor people tighten their belts and eliminate their morning coffee and their lunches that our jobs become at risk.

But it's bad, it's bad. Not to complain, but I didn't put oil in my tank until January and when that hundred gallons is gone, it's gone. This past week I've been cutting a dose of a medicine I need in half so it will last me to payday today. I also found out that my fulltime hours will be cut in half in April, so if you hear of any jobs in the Greater Springfield, MA area, let me know. I'm very happy I'm done raising my family so I don't have to make these tough choices for three instead of one.

Middle and working class people are wondering how Barack Obama's stimulus plan is going to help them; poor people are organizing because we can't wait much longer. My organization, Arise for Social Justice, is a proud member of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, a national organizing effort to bring poor people together to fight for our rights. July is the next big convening. Below is information about a conference in Kentucky this July and a call for participation. If you're poor and you can get there, do it. If you're an ally, maybe you can help someone else get there. More details to come.

"Building the Unsettling Force:
A National Conference to Abolish Poverty"

Organized by the Social Welfare Action Alliance (SWAA) and the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC)
Thursday, July 16, 2009 -- Sunday, July 19, 2009
Spalding University -- Louisville, Kentucky

This conference is being organized to provide a forum for people to share ideas, inspire, and motivate each other. We will strive for collective actions based in sound analyses - actions that can be taken locally, regionally, and nationally when we leave this gathering. Abolish poverty in these times of increasing joblessness, homelessness, hunger, and unemployment? We say "yes" and turn to the wisdoms of Martin Luther King, who envisioned an organized "unsettling force" built across racial lines that would spark a "revolution of values" to reorganize our society.
Community activists and organizers, social workers, human service workers, students, faculty and all who are concerned with meeting human need and claiming economic human rights are encouraged to propose workshops, roundtables, panel discussions, presentations, papers, skill-building sessions, and more. Participatory formats are especially encouraged. We also seek proposals for cultural contributions in the form of music, poetry, art, drama, and multimedia presentations. We invite you to submit your proposal by fax to 216-651-2633 or e-mail to Please include the following:
• A cover page indicating title of the proposal and the names, addresses, and affiliations of all
• A 200 word proposal linked to the conference theme.
• Proposed format & amount of time desired
Note: No presentations on Thursday. We may contact you for approval to combine presentations.
Updates at For questions or assistance, contact Manoj Pardasani (SWAA), 212-636-6622 or Larry Bresler (PPEHRC), 216-651-2606,

No comments: