kwru-announce Days 12-13, the Freedom From Unemployment, Hunger and Homelessness Bus Tour! (fwd)

P. Myers (mpwr@u.washington.edu)
Sat, 20 Jun 1998 11:28:01 -0700 (PDT)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 11:59:29 -0400
Reply-To: kwru@libertynet.org
To: kwru-announce@libertynet.org
Subject: kwru-announce Days 12-13,  the Freedom From Unemployment, Hunger a=
nd Homelessness Bus Tour!

Economic Human Rights Freedom Bus Update
June 12 - 13, 1998

Days 12-13,  the Freedom From Unemployment, Hunger and Homelessness Bus
Tour!

Day 12 =96 Little Rock, Arkansas

We arrived in Little Rock just in time for a 5:00 PM rally at the
Governor's Mansion. In front of a statue of the president from Arkansas who
signed the welfare reform bill, we stood proudly with our "Economic Human
Rights" banner.

Joining us at the rally were three groups from the community and supporters
from as far away as Kansas City. Felicia Davidson was the principal
organizer who spoke at the rally. Felicia works with poor people in Little
Rock through the Women's Project, and also is on the executive committee of
the North-South Dialogue, developing a movement of poor people led by poor
people. We also heard from women working with poor people in the areas of
domestic violence and immigration.

We welcomed the personal testimony of Danny Alexander, a longtime organizer
in Kansas City around poverty issues.

After the rally the bus riders jumped back on the bus for a stormy
overnight drive to Louisville, Kentucky.


Day 13 =96 Louisville, Kentucky

Early Saturday morning, the Freedom Bus pulled into a parking lot near the
Clarksdale public housing projects in Louisville, Kentucky. We were met by
Pam McMichael and others from Southerners On New Ground (SONG), an
anti-poverty group that played a key role in organizing our visit. All the
freedom riders were fed a wonderful breakfast at the Velvet Rose, a local
supper club that let us sleep in their parking lot.

After setting up the tents, stretching our legs after the overnight bus
ride, and showering at a nearby homeless shelter, we gathered at Wayside
Christian Mission for a productive lunch discussion with local organizers.
After lunch we collected in East Louisville Community Park, which is
surrounded by Clarksdale public housing, for the main event of our visit.

The Speak-Out on Poverty lasted all afternoon, giving the freedom riders
time off the bus, which has become our de-facto home. (One freedom rider
recently referred to his bus seat as "my room"!) The weather was beautiful,
and the sun shone brightly as organizers and testifiers shared the stage
with activist folk singers and the Freedom Bus Choir.

Bob Cunningham, of the Kentucky Alliance Against Racism and Political
Repression, was the M.C. for the event. He welcomed us, to much applause:
"I think it is very moral -- it is very just -- for you to be here today.
You are the heroes and she-roes of our generation. [...] Our cause today is
not to manage poverty but to get rid of poverty. We have to ask fundamental
questions about our society." Two members of the Clarksdale resident
council spoke on behalf of the poor in the housing projects, expressing
solidarity and encouragement for the bus riders.

We heard testimony from a representative from the Coalition of the Homeless
that in Louisville, 1,200 men, women, and children are in shelters on any
given night, and 8,300 people in total spent at least a night in shelters
in the past year. We also met many currently and previously homeless
people; we collected their stories to take to the United Nations, and
shared our stories with them.

After a community dinner with residents of the neighborhood, bus riders
prepared for the Urban Goatherder Coffeehouse, a monthly Louisville event
that luckily coincided with our visit. We joined other poor and homeless
people for a night of cultural and culinary sharing. Freedom Bus riders
sang, read poetry, and even freestyle rap, alongside poor brothers and
sisters from Louisville.

For 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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