February 2019 Updates: the Good, the Trials, the Tribulations

PPEHRC is off and running in 2019. Things are lining up to be a huge year for us, with a new office and a new army. But we’ve also got trials and tribulations, literally. We need to enlist your support and involvement.

The Good

  • We are pleased to announce that we have an AWESOME NEW OFFICE SPACE at the United Steelworkers Unionbuilding at 1505 W Allegheny Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19132. We have the second floor and are cleaning up the nice second floor to open up asap for headquarters, education & trainings, drop-ins and distributions. But we need donations in the form of: cleaning supplies, kitchen items (coffee mugs, coffeepot, water, small fridge), white board (markers & erasers), bulletin board, whiteboard calendar, lamps, plastic flowers and other decor, U.S. Map, copy paper, power strips, and office supplies.
  • We’ve launched the POOR PEOPLE’S ARMY with allies! The ruling class has their own army and police, disciplined and united. Our side needs just as much training, education,experience, and discipline to fight for justice for poor and working people (though with different, emancipatory tactics). Join us for the the first PoorPeople’s Army BOOTCAMP to take place March 15-17, at Church of the Overcomer, just outside Philly at 1010 Sunset St, Trainer, PA 19061. See the facebook event, and REGISTER HERE! Cost is sliding scale, with meals included.

 

  • We are pleased to announce a new Poor People’s Army SPEAKING TOUR! Help us share the strategies and tactics of PPEHRC and our allies, and explain the idea of and recruit for the Poor People’s Army. Cheri and members of the Army will be available to speak at colleges, universities, religious institutions, and other places. Help connect with paid speaking gigs, suggest partners and places. Contact Matt Pillischer with suggestions, bookings, and questions.

The Trials

  • CHERI’S FEDERAL CRIMINAL TRIAL begins in Washington DC on April 4. Homeland Security arrested Cheri while she was trying to speak with officials at HUD about the takeover of Puerto Rico by business speculators while HUD was ignoring housing there, and about Ben Carson was proposing 100,000 people be cut from public housing. The government offered to drop charges if Cheri gagged herself by accepting a “stay away” order from HUD, which she refused so they are taking her to trial. See a video of her arrest here. We need to pack the courtroom with supporters to bring down these trumped up charges. Please contact us if you are interested in driving down to DC or getting a ride to support her.
  • NATO MARCHES ON MLK’S GRAVE – join us in protest against the dangerous and destructive NATO gathering, on their 70th anniversary, and also callously scheduled on the day that Dr. King was assassinated, April 4. No to WAR, No to Imperialism, No to NATO! See more info and fliers here.

The Tribulations

  • HELP CRYSTAL AND HER GIRLS! Member Crystal and her family were kicked out of their home unexpectedly and we have almost raised $1,500 necessary to get Crystal and her 2 daughters into new housing. You can send money to support Crystal and others on the Underground Railroad. Every single dollar counts.

Keep a look out for upcoming events such as the March Spring Cleaning and BBQ at our new office, Upcoming Regional Bootcamps in the South and West U.S., and Weekly Movie Night in the Summer.

Join us as a sustainer at $10-20/month? Donate at: economichumanrights.org/donate/

Towards Justice,

Cheri, Galen, and the PPEHRC Family


Summer of Social Action Program

Every summer PPEHRC holds a volunteer internship program for high school and college students interested in social and economic justice. This is a great opportunity to work in a grassroots setting and learn from seasoned leaders about organizing for economic human rights.

Participants in the summer internship program will live with PPEHRC host families in North Philadelphia if housing is needed. The program runs from June 16 to August 1, but the actual dates of your attendance can be tailored to fit your availability.

For more information, or to apply, contact PPEHRC internship alumna Meaghan Russell at meaghan87@gmail.com

 


2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington

This march will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City erected in 1968 on the National Mall. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington will begin on June 2nd from the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, the poorest District in Pennsylvania, and end on June 14th at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
For more information, check out the march website. Also, sign up to join us and donate $10 today to support this effort.

Intern with PPEHRC

Intern with PPEHRC – Our organization is dedicated to cultivating future leaders of activism to facilitate widespread change in their own communities and abroad.  As such, it offers several opportunities for internships, in multiple organizational categories:

  • #1 – Media Manager
    • Responsibilities: Media managers will utilize several of PPEHRC’s contact and media resources to keep potential donors, volunteers, members and the general population up to date on what PPEHRC is accomplishing in the world, in addition to what further assistance the campaign needs and what events will be taking place in the future.  Furthermore, managers will create flyers and advertisements for events and distribute them in mass.
    • Skills: Interns will learn how to operate important tools such as WordPress and MailChimp newsletters.  The duties also require proficient use of multiple social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other blogs.  Graphic design abilities will prove useful for developing flyers and ads that are visually appealing and effective.
  • #2 – Event Secretary
    • Responsibilities: Event Secretaries will help plan speaking engagements and events while managing calendars and planners.  Speaking engagement planning involves contacting multiple institutions of higher education, social justice organizations, churches (and other places of worship), and more.  These engagements are a large source of funding for the campaign and are thus vital to its continuing operation, while also promoting the campaigns interest in educating the public about the prevalence of poverty in America.  The Event Secretary will also work with the director of PPEHRC to develop fundraising and community-building events, which will then be handed over to the media managers for advertisement.  They also organize, regularly update, and promote event calendars to prevent the conflict of event times and keep the organization running smoothly.
    • Skills: Interns will need and refine strong organizational and communication skills to work efficiently in the face of multiple tasks.  Proficient use of online calendars and frequent email usage are crucial to the position.
  • #3 – Fundraising Director
    • Responsibilities: Fundraising Directors apply to multiple sources for grants from nonprofits and charitable foundations.  In addition, they request donations from several locations to acquire food, heating units, clothing, toys for children, and more.  Moreover, when emergency funds are needed, fundraising directors work with media managers to contact as many previous donors and members as possible to secure needed funds.  They also will constantly research and develop new events and fundraising ideas to best fund the campaign.
    • Skills: Fundraising directors will learn how to write formal donation requests, process federal and state tax forms, efficiently research under pressure, and how to professionally communicate with corporate and personal donors.

Emergency Housing for PR Evacuees

Puerto Rican evacuees who arrived in Philadelphia after losing everything due to Hurricane Maria are facing continued uncertainty about their continued housing. While emergency housing vouchers for evacuees have been extended until June, several families have fallen through the cracks and are facing homelessness.

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is looking to raise $2,000 in order to house some of these families by April 1st. These families, who have already been through a great ordeal, are now confronting shelter services that do not have Spanish language services and housing assistance requirements that cause delays and do not meet the immediate housing needs of their families.

Please help today by contributing to PPEHRC’s GoFundMe Campaign and spread the word!


March For Our Lives 2018 – Strategic Webinar

Join us for a webinar on Monday, March 26th, 8-9 PM (eastern time)! We will be discussing the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign’s upcoming March for Our Lives. This will be a march from Philadelphia to Washington DC June 2-12, honoring the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s March.

The webinar will not just focus on logistic information related to the March, but also the strategic significance of the poor to continue to organize and speak for ourselves, domestically and internationally, especially at a time when the lived reality of the poor is increasingly erased by the media.

Presenters include Cheri Honkala, Galen Tyler, and Tara Colon, members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign who are currently living below the poverty line, formerly homeless and raising children with disabilities.

To participate you must register HERE and receive a unique link to log-in. You will enjoy the fullest experience if you join the webinar through your computer although the system will provide you with a phone number in case you are unable to use a computer.



Screening of Flesh and Blood

On March 9th at 6:30pm, Philly CAM will be hosting a screening of the film Flesh and Blood (2017).

Shot in Philadelphia and featuring a local cast, FLESH AND BLOOD tells the story of Mark (writer/director Webber), a man just home from prison who must once again live with his mother and teenage half-brother. Attempting to re-integrate himself back into society and resume his life in Philadelphia, Mark is forced to revisit a community that has barely changed. Legitimate jobs are still hard to come by, and his strained relationships with both his activist mother (Cheri Honkala) and his brother with Asperger Syndrome (Guillermo Santos) are unavoidable upon his return home. Outside of his damaged home life, Mark must also resist the temptations of crime and substance abuse that would subsequently throw him back into the life he is trying so hard to move on from. Despite his abstinence, he surrounds himself with his old circle of friends, all of whom are still deep in the throes of hard partying, proving as a particularly trying test for his sobriety. Using his real mother and younger half-brother to play versions of themselves and often shooting in vérité style, Webber delivers an intimate and touching character study that effortlessly experiments with the blending of documentary and fiction.

CAST: Mark Webber, Cheri Honkala, Guillermo Santos, Madeline Brewer

Followed by a Q&A with the cast.

This screening is FREE and open to all.

Friday, March 9 at 6:30-8pm at Philly CAM, 699 Ranstead St, Philadelphia, PA 19106


Screening of Flesh and Blood (Minnesota)

Screening of Flesh and Blood hosted by MN PPEHRC on Friday, March 2 at 7:30pm at 253 State Street, St Paul, MN 55107.

Shot in Philadelphia and featuring a local cast, FLESH AND BLOOD tells the story of Mark (writer/director Webber), a man just home from prison who must once again live with his mother and teenage half-brother. Attempting to re-integrate himself back into society and resume his life in Philadelphia, Mark is forced to revisit a community that has barely changed. Legitimate jobs are still hard to come by, and his strained relationships with both his activist mother (Cheri Honkala) and his brother with Asperger Syndrome (Guillermo Santos) are unavoidable upon his return home. Outside of his damaged home life, Mark must also resist the temptations of crime and substance abuse that would subsequently throw him back into the life he is trying so hard to move on from. Despite his abstinence, he surrounds himself with his old circle of friends, all of whom are still deep in the throes of hard partying, proving as a particularly trying test for his sobriety. Using his real mother and younger half-brother to play versions of themselves and often shooting in vérité style, Webber delivers an intimate and touching character study that effortlessly experiments with the blending of documentary and fiction.

CAST: Mark Webber, Cheri Honkala, Guillermo Santos, Madeline Brewer

More information at: https://www.facebook.com/events/152168605493352/


Don’t tell me how to punch if you are not in the boxing ring!

Dear Poor Folks and Friends,

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) comes with decades of organizing experience in the anti-poverty movement. Much has been learned from international peasant movements, the National Welfare Rights Union, and other leaders throughout history that we will talk about in other articles.

We are writing these lessons in an attempt to assist our brothers and sisters who are out there trying to survive and build the movement to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, who while organizing are struggling to feed and house their very own families at the same time. Most of you are unpaid, poorly paid and overworked organizers – especially if you are trying to stay away from the non-profit industrial complex, or as Pastor Collins says, the ‘faith-based nonprofit industrial complex.’

These articles will be short/accessible and to the point. Two important lessons for today!

  1. Don’t tell me how to punch if you are not in the boxing ring!
  2. Follow the Money! Philanthropy is a scam!

Don’t tell me how to punch if you’re not in the boxing ring!

I’m writing this to you today as a woman who has spent over 30 years in the anti-poverty movement as a poor single mother. We have spent most of our life being told we ain’t shit. We have had to endure all the stereotypes of all the “progressives” and well meaning people along the way. Everyone has always had a better way of doing things. We have always deferred to people in suits or in collars or at the university. We have rarely listened to ourselves or each other. Now, I don’t believe in collective ignorance, but if you have been able to stay alive and have been busy reading and active in this movement for years, YOU (yes, you) have something to not only say, but TEACH! You see, most of our history folks have used us for photos and testimony and to put stamps of approval on their work, but rarely have asked us to talk strategy, power and direction. Well sisters and brothers, it’s our children on the front lines – it’s time for us to get serious and no longer demand a seat at the table, but to teach another path that leads to the ending of poverty. Ending poverty isn’t even on that table being discussed to begin with. The fight to stay alive is not a 9-5 and it doesn’t come with a salary and a foundation grant.

Philanthropy is a Scam. Stop being a pawn, all of humanity depends on it. The most important thing we have is each other.

Okay, so I know I’m not supposed to talk about this topic. It is taboo in the anti-poverty nonprofit world. Okay, get ready – I’m gonna say it: Fuck the corporations that are funding and running your anti-poverty/faith nonprofit organization. Alright, so that means you’re going to call me an extremist and not fund my work. Oh yeah, I forgot – you stopped giving us money years ago when we began to understand why you were giving us money in the first place.

This quote from Joanne Barkan explains the problem in a simple way: Private foundations “intervene in public life but aren’t accountable to the public; they are privately governed but publicly subsidized […]. [T]hey reinforce the problem of plutocracy, the exercise of power derived from the wealthy.”

Many nonprofit, social justice, and anti-poverty organizations make it seem like they are the answer, and that capitalism is the solution. They can’t say this out loud because the progressive foundations (the corporations/banks on their progressive foundation boards) would end their funding, never allow them to be a scholar, or never publish their book. These entities might never help them pay their staff salaries, never pay for their office rent or massive social media outreach that enable them to stay on top of collecting resources from the public and diverting the attention away from your work and mine.

Or worse, if you are really out there challenging power, you will not only have to deal with living on the front lines, but you will have to deal with the nonprofit social media machine vilifying you and making you disappear by raiding your shops, chapters, and supporters. It should be easy because if you are a team player with your oppressor there is a great deal of money in social control and little to no money in organizing not tied to plutocracy.

Nonprofits and capitalism are not only ‘not the solution’ … they are the problem – placing leaders and mis-leaders (conscious or unconscious) in servitude to the foundations. It also encourages us to look the other way instead of looking at what is happening to our brothers and sisters internationally. A system that allowed capitalists to become so rich is not going to end poverty. Our challenge is to globalize from below – to really figure out how to do our work independent of the corporations that are killing our sisters and brothers, not just here, but around the world. That’s what REAL unity of the poor means! It means giving a damn about where the anti-poverty or social justice organization you are working with is getting its money and how its used! I know this is hard, but we must create a cooperative economy and a new independent way of funding each other’s work. Lastly, these organizations are also linked to the two corporate controlled political parties. Many of these corporations give money to both Democrats and Republicans – it does not matter to them. As long as the poor continue to have faith in these two corporate controlled political parties we will never end poverty. Yes – the way forward is political power for the poor, not pity, not charity, not more nonprofits but political power and independence!!

So now it’s up to you. These are difficult times and we are dealing with new things. I’m watching the permanently unemployed being created right before my eyes due to electronics and technology. It’s now up to us to decide which road we will walk. Our road is ugly and hard, but it’s a true cry for unity of the poor, political power, and independence. It’s a road that future generations will thank us for walking.

Join us in the March for Our Lives June 2 to June 14 as we walk this ugly road. Click here to register today and donate.

I look forward to not just talking the talk, but walking the walk with you.

Warm Regards,

Cheri Honkala