Day 7 & 8 Economic Human Rights Freedom Bus Update: KWRU FWD

Tom Boland (
Wed, 10 Jun 1998 12:04:51 -0700 (PDT)

FWD  CC Replies to Kensington Welfare Rights Union <>

Economic Human Rights Freedom Bus Update - June 7 & 8, 1998

Days 7 & 8 of the Freedom From Unemployment, Hunger and Homelessness Bus Tour!

[Pictures and more information are available on our website: ]

Day 7

Durham, North Carolina

The bus rolled into Durham, North Carolina late Saturday night, and stayed
overnight at a community center organized for us by the UNC Housekeepers Union
and Southerners for Economic Justice. We were welcomed by representatives of
several organizations in Durham, including Larry Farrar of the Housekeepers
Union, Cynthia Brown of Southerners for Economic Justice, Mab Secrist and Leah
Weiss of Urban Rural Mission, and other important individuals.

Sunday morning, we were invited to attend services at the Union Baptist Church
and First Calvary Baptist churches. We were warmly welcomed, and the message
of building a movement for economic human rights found real support.

It was a long drive from Durham to the Highlander Center in Tennessee, where
we arrived late Sunday night.

Day 8

Highlander and Knoxville, Tennessee

The Highlander Center has been an important place in grassroots organizing
efforts since its founding in the 30's. Rooted in ideas of popular education,
it was a space where leaders of the Industrial Union movement of the 30's and
Civil Rights movement of the 60's came to develop skills, theories and
strategies. The Highlander has continued its historical role of supporting
organizing efforts across the country. Our day at Highlander was a time to
meet and strategize, looking at many of the different fronts on which this
campaign is operating - dealing with logistics, our communication strategy,
the legal aspects of the campaign, and (as always, at the center of our
discussions) continuing to build the efforts of the poor to organize ourselves
across this country.

Community groups like SICK (Solutions to Issues of Concern to Knoxvillians)
and other organizations held a human rights picnic in Knoxville. We heard
testimonies of people in Knoxville and on the bus who are struggling both to
survive and to fight the conditions they are facing. There was also music by
local musicians, poetry, and plenty of food to go around.

Michelle Nored, a welfare recipient from Knoxville and an organizer, shared
the following poem with us:

Within my life I've made a choice, I spoke my mind, You've heard my voice. / A
simple life I've laid to rest / So I could choose for me the best.

So many folks have shown concern, / And many heads my kids have turned. /
"Just why has she done that to them? / Those kids are outcast from within."

With curly hair and perfect tans, / My kids were formed with God's own hands.
/ "Just where does she think she gets off? / Those kids will surely pay the

"A Welfare Mom no doubt, agreed? / How else so many could she feed? / I'll bet
they all end up in jail, / With trash like that, they're sure to fail."

"We're the ones that she should thank, / For goodness sake we fill her tank. /
We buy her food, pay rent and lights, / Just who is she to claim some rights?"

They speak as though I'm not around; / As if I'd dare not make a sound. / For
after all, you know they're right, / Why should I stand up, fuss, or fight?

I've got life easy, / I've got life licked. / Free Medicaid, food stamps,
and WIC.

What's wrong with me? / Could I be wrong? / I don't think so, / I know I'm

For seven years I've fought the fight, / Been kicked by men and shamed in
spite. / I've walked with kids a lot in rain, / No car to drive and lots of

Yet look at me, I'm still upright, / Been bumped and bruised, but still I
fight. / Too many moms don't have the strength / To tell those folks just what
they think.

I think it's time to let them know, / They can't do that, just tell them NO! /
You will not kill me, I will not quit. / Why should I with this great wit?


For more information, visit our webpage at:

Or contact us at:

Kensington Welfare Rights Union
PO Box 50678
Philadelphia, PA 19132-9720
215/203-1950 FAX

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