Day 2 - Economic Human Rights Freedom Bus Update: KWRU FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 3 Jun 1998 11:50:39 -0700 (PDT)


=46WD  CC Replies to Kensington Welfare Rights Union <kwru@libertynet.org>
     Kensington Welfare Rights Union http://www.libertynet.org/kwru


  ECONOMIC HUMAN RIGHTS FREEDOM BUS UPDATE - JUNE 2, 1998

  DAY 2 OF THE FREEDOM FROM UNEMPLOYMENT, HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS BUS TOUR!


After a calm night in the SEIU local 285 parking lot, the Freedom Riders wer=
e
"Up & Out" early. After a great breakfast sponsored by the Mass Welfare Righ=
ts
Union, we marched down Massachusetts Avenue chanting "What Do We Want?"
"Living Wage Jobs!" "When Do We Want Them?" "NOW!." We marched to Boston's
historic Copely Square where the Boston Economic Human Rights Tribunal was
held.

Welfare recipients from Massachusetts testified to a panel of judges about t=
he
horrific effects of welfare reform on poor women. One recipient testified th=
at
the state is vigorously removing children from families every day because th=
ey
are poor.

Another welfare recipient testified that new EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfe=
r)
cards (which do away with paper food stamps and welfare checks) have caused
great hardships when people have been unable to access their benefits.

The judges at the tribunal included Mel King (MIT professor & social justice
leader), Jack Buchman (former state senator), Sister Pat Lambert (Office for
Peace & Justice), John O'Connor, Kip Tiernan (Rosie's Place), Vicki Woodward=
,
and Terry Haywoode (Northeastern University).

After lunch, the Freedom Bus picked us up and carried us to Springfield, MA.

In Springfield we were greeted with a warm welcome from ARISE for Social
Justice. The Freedom Riders joined about 150 people from Western Massachuset=
ts
and marched to a community meal at the Community Progressive Chapel.

Cheri Honkala, Co-Chair of the National Welfare Rights Union and Freedom Bus
Rider, addressed the group that gathered for the evening. "This is not
symbolic," she said when handed the stories of economic human rights
violations by Mary Sutherland, a leader of ARISE. "These are real people's
lives, and we will bring these stories to the United Nations to hold this
country accountable."

State Representative Ben Swan addressed the group and testified that ARISE f=
or
Social Justice is the only organization in Springfield doing anything
substantial on the issue of poverty. He encouraged the Freedom Riders to =93=
keep
on keepin' on." Mary Sutherland, from ARISE for Social Justice, Others told
stories of their human rights violations. One fifty-year old woman was tryin=
g
to survive without any access to health care.

---

=46or more information, visit our webpage at:
http://www.libertynet.org/kwru

Or contact us at:

Kensington Welfare Rights Union
NUHHCE, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
PO Box 50678
Philadelphia, PA 19132-9720
215/203-1945
215/203-1950 FAX
email: kwru@libertynet.org

---
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