Re: NCH and the Amarican Homeless Society

Virginia Sellner (
Tue, 23 Dec 1997 18:44:24 -0800

Way to go girl.  Virginia

At 06:25 PM 12/23/97 -0800, Anitra Again wrote:
>Wandering Bear, I understand your anger at people who patronize and
>explore the poor.  I've felt that frustration myself, from the
>daycenter volunteer who was so gushingly, cooingly "proud" of me over
>the publication of my first poem that I sincerely craved to bite her
>nose, to the staff of the Low Income Housing Institute who regard it
>as silly and obstructive of SHARE to insist on equal decision-making
>power in a project we are "paper partners" in.
>But does this mean that as soon as anyone is accused of being "poverty
>pimps" you get angry at them?
>It is almost impossible to prove a negative.  I'm over here in Seattle
>Washington -- go ahead and ask me to *prove* I don't patronize or take
>advantage of any of my colleagues.  If you are determined to believe
>that I do, there isn't a damn thing I can do to change your mind.
>It takes money to do just about anything.  It takes what seems to me
>to be an outlandish amount of money to fix a broken copying machine or
>to buy toner.  If you were to set up a bare-bones organizing effort in
>a low-rent district with donated office equipment and recycled paper,
>you would probably spend $30,000 in the first year -- if your
>volunteers all worked for the going rate of love and air.  But is it
>really economic justice to work our volunteers like slave labor?  so
>you start giving the people who work 60 hours a week for you a livable
>wage of $18,000 a year -- and you now have a $100,000 a year
>operation, and people are yelling at you about how many people you
>could feed with $100,000 and where is all that money going and 
>you must be getting rich off the poor people you poverty pimp.
>If you really want to sit down with NCH's accounting books and analyze
>them, go do it.  Have a headache.  But in the meantime there are gross
>and obvious signs of people who are brazenly abusing the poor, all
>around you.  The big-business/Department of Justice coalition passing
>anti-poor-people laws all over the country.  Organizations like LIHI
>that have grassroots "partners" for funding purposes but give them no
>real decision-making voice.  The INS treating immigrants to this
>country with no human dignity or human rights, while our government
>trumpets its indignation at foreign countries for violating human
>rights. Policemen raping prisoners with bathroom plungers.  Women
>hounded in their own home by legal authorities, because a relative
>said they were "acting strange".
>If you have the courage to challenge the exploiters of the poor, then
>go after the people who are doing it.  The big, powerful, dangerous
>people who have demonstrated that they do take physical action against
>those who criticize them.  Confront them directly, in their offices
>and at public meetings -- as SHARE and NCH and all of the other people
>taht Sharon screams against do.  While I have never heard Sharon utter
>a peep against anyone really dangerous, or seen her sit down to a real
>dialogue with anyone she disagrees with.
>It takes no courage at all to lob accusations at someone through
>email.  It takes courage to sit down at the table with someone you
>disagree with and take the risk that they might change your mind on
>something.  it takes courage to sit down at the table with someone
>powerful and take the risk that you might not be able to prove your
>case, that your facts may prove wanting, that your rhetoric may not
>carry the day.
>The day that technology develops a way to travel the electron tunnels
>carrying an aluminum baseball bat, I'll give points for courage to
>people who make flaming insults by email.  At the current state of
>technology, it is a false and flashy courage.
>It is less flashy to go carry trash and mend the walls of a shelter.
>It is less flashy to quietly bring food for a group and share it with
>them, without making a big deal about where it came from.  It is less
>flashy to spend half an hour talking with a lonely woman.  But these
>are the things that are going to build something.  Something new, and
>independent of all exploiters.
>Go build something.
>~~ Anitra
> for a full list of websites
>and webrings because if I list them all here, you will be SO mad at me ...

Virginia D. Sellner - Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless, P. O. Box 1232,
Cheyenne, WY 82003-1232,   email:    URL: