Welfare Rights Union (KWRU)
can we do? For the time being, simply show up—with
eyes, ears, hearts, and minds open." — Steve Earle
This is Steve's
comment on the release that follows:
is the real revolution led by the very people it seeks to help (rather
than middle class do-gooders like me). They are poor people DEMANDING
basic human rights. Yes, folks, decent housing, education, nutrition
and medical care are RIGHTS — not privileges. My drug habit took
me to the poorest neighborhood in Nashville everyday for five years (to
find the drugs, you simply follow the desperation). I never met a
welfare queen. I did see women struggling to raise children in an
atmosphere devoid of hope and dreams.
WORKSHOP TO BE HELD AT POOR PEOPLE'S SUMMIT IN PHILADELPHIA
not be at the summit due to a previous commitment (over a year old) to
play for the anti-landmine campaign in D.C., however, this won't be the
last summit and I won't miss the next one. If you believe, as I do,
that it's a crime for anyone to go hungry in the richest country in the
world, suit up and show up in Philly.
is the real deal, folks.
Hosted by the Kensington
Welfare Rights Union (KWRU), a Poor People's Summit will be held in Philadelphia
the weekend of October 9-11. Already, over one hundred poor people's
organizations from all over the United States have committed themselves
to come, as have several dozen "non-poor people's" organizations, such
as organizations of social workers and student groups.
There will be at least 40
workshops on a mind-boggling variety of topics pertaining to the struggle
to end poverty, including a very important workshop on the strategic use
of culture of all kinds. The workshop will give artists and cultural organizers
a place to share their experiences and ideas and to establish networking
mechanisms for the future.
Could you please let either
myself or Danny Alexander (913-631-5184; firstname.lastname@example.org) know…
...your thoughts on what
should be included as part of the workshop.
Can you attend the Summit?
Can other artists and/or cultural organizers you know?
While the media continue
to promote the myth that the American economy is booming, the 80 million
Americans living below the poverty line (which includes most artists, writers,
and musicians) have a different story to tell. A big part of that
story is that poor people are organizing themselves, educating themselves,
and speaking out very eloquently for themselves. The Poor People's
Summit will provide an important opportunity for the rapidly growing number
of poor people's organizations to coalesce into a full-fledged movement
to end poverty for once and for all.
It's also of the greatest
importance to have people from ALL walks of life at the Summit. First
of all, even those of us still making a decent living are only one or two
paychecks (or tours, or grants) away from poverty ourselves. Of equal
importance is the fact that, to be successful, a poor people's movement
needs to shake up every level of society. In a nutshell, the Poor
People's Summit is for EVERYONE who needs or wants to end poverty in America.
Finally, history has repeatedly
shown that the struggles of poor people provoke an intense reaction from
writers, artists, and musicians. If we can tap into that reaction
in an organized way, everything is possible.
For instance, at the Summit
a proposal will be presented to approve a March of the Americas, in which
large contingents from Canada, Latin America, and the U.S. would converge
on Washington, D.C. in October 1999 for a march on the UN in New York to
continue to press the need of poor people the world over for economic human
rights. With broad involvement from the cultural communities of this
hemisphere, the March of the Americas can make history and unleash a multitude
of possibilities for all of us to make a difference in this world.
I hope to hear from you soon.
I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia and, in the meantime, please
disseminate this message as widely as possible. Thank you very much.
P.O. Box 341305
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Philadelphia, PA 19132
"While the rich and powerful
of the world strategize daily to maintain their power, working to keep
the rest of us poor and powerless, we should do nothing less in our own
interests. The Poor People's Summit is a clarion call for the New American
Revolution--beyond race, nationality, and gender politics, as we unite
around our common aims to provide a decent lives for ourselves and our
children. Shouldn't you be there?"
— Luis Rodriguez, author
of Always Running: Mi Vida Loca--Gang Days in L.A. and founding member
of Youth Struggling for Survival in Chicago and Rock A Mole Productions
in Los Angeles.