Poor People's Summit: input sought on Cultural Strategy Workshop

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 29 Sep 1998 17:57:05 -0400

FWD  CC Replies to <dalexand@gvi.net>


"What can we do? For the time being, simply show up--with
our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds open."--Steve Earle

     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

Could you please let either myself or Danny Alexander (913-631-5184;
dalexand@gvi.net) 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

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
Thank you very much.


Lee Ballinger, P.O. Box 341305,
Los Angeles CA 90034 / 310-398-4477

KWRU, Box 50678, Philadelphia PA 19132 / 215-203-1945 kwru@libertynet.org

Website: http://www.libertynet.org/kwru

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