An open letter to the Welfare Queens and Deadbeat Dads: an invitation to walk the ugly road together

Dear Welfare Queens,

I’m a Queen myself so it’s easy for me to identify other Queens.

I live in a little apartment on the second floor of a house with my son who is 15 and has two disabilities. I work doing deliveries during the day for Postmates when I can and the night shift at UPS. I can barely pay my bills and have been on and off welfare for most of my life. No, I don’t enjoy this life or wish it on anyone.

We Queens have always been hated, distrusted, and told that we will never amount to anything because we have poor work ethics, and choose not to go anywhere in life.

The fathers of our children have been called ‘deadbeat dads’ at best, sometimes ‘sperm donors.’ In order to get the little welfare or food stamps we have, we’ve had to cut our children’s fathers out of their lives and applaud when fathers are rounded up and sent to jail for not paying child support. This is a common thing that they do on Valentine’s Day here. It’s called the prison industrial complex.

Welfare Queens: listen up things are about to get even harder for you now!

People already don’t see you and they don’t know your life. Yes, sometimes they might be able to spot you when you pull out your Access Card and look down on you if you are buying ice cream for your kids but, by and large, you are ashamed and hiding it, or you have already experienced the consequences of being tracked by your Access Card and the state has already smacked you down for being politically active. Yes, we can pray for the poor but God knows you better not get involved in politics or speak out for yourself.

Yes, others might even say, I was poor once or on welfare but the goal really is to dismiss the inhumane conditions and life you are living right now, at this very moment. There’s a lot of money to be made in the anti-poverty world, but your life of misery they can’t be bothered with.

Poverty and hunger are not sexy issues to look at or work on in the social justice world. Hearing about how she gets up each day trying to figure out how she’s going to feed her daughter – they just don’t want to hear it or see it. It’s not sexy and this might cause them sleepless nights thinking about their comfortable world and their inability to share what they have. It’s just too disturbing. So it’s easier to create charts, hold demonstrations, use social media, and talk about it – but they must cut off your voice. It’s like fingernails to a chalkboard. They will parade you around when necessary but they don’t really believe that their plight is intertwined with yours.

Sometimes I know she just wants to give up. She works her two jobs and feels the guilt of never seeing her daughter. Each day it gets harder to get up and now she learns of the new work requirements in order to get affordable housing. She tries hard to stay away from the sedation offered everywhere in her neighborhood. Drugs and alcohol are everywhere. She sits in her kitchen and swats roaches and prays that the mice don’t go up on the bed. She longs to just escape, to disappear from all of this misery. But she continues on the ugly road knowing that at any moment they can lock her up or take away her child for being a poor single mom on welfare. She is the woman the nation and politicians have been groomed to hate. Better yet, she better not say anything or she will be known as a belligerent, angry woman with an attitude problem, a non-deserving poor Welfare Queen. Someone who, for some reason, thinks she should only have what you have, a full set of teeth, food when you’re hungry, the ability to wash clothes, heat in the winter, and, yes, a life of dignity and without fear. Because to be poor is to be criminalized. But she doesn’t have it and neither do the millions of other Welfare Queens.

I know the welfare office is the least of your problems these days. Now you have to deal with the social control from the non-profit industrial complex. You mention a problem and they will refer you to an agency that won’t solve the problem and then criticize you for not utilizing city services. But, my dear Queen, you know that our country has been perfecting the non-profit industrial complex. They must pretend that they have the situation under control, so they must buy their alliances.

Because they know there are millions of welfare queens who are working on becoming generals. Conscious Queen Generals. So, my sisters, you must educate yourselves. They are coming for us and we need you to become educated. We need you to follow the money of every organization and person that you meet. We cannot afford to listen to the fancy speeches and rhetoric. “Progressive Foundations” are funding the disunity of our class. These foundations are linking government and corporations in order to create the social control necessary to prevent us from building a movement led by the poor, independent of the two corporate-controlled political parties.

They are trying to cut off your voice and mine. We must stand strong in the tradition of Fannie Lou Hammer, Annie Smart, Dottie Stevens, Rev. Harris, Rev. Annie Chambers, Rosa Clemente, and many other sisters who dared to speak truth to power.

Women who were and are brave enough to speak out against the Democratic and Republican parties and who understood that the poor need more than pity. They need political power!

They will continue to turn us Welfare Queens and Deadbeat dads (the organized poor) into villains because we dare to be educated, organized, political, ethical, and ready to fight.

We will not participate in the isolation and the marginalization of other Queens. If someone tries to throw one of our sisters or brothers in the dirt we will say something about it and, no, we will not take the dirty money from the politicians, labor unions, and so-called “progressive foundations” that are aligned with corporations. We know that corporations are giving money to the “progressive” foundations right now to fund our demise. Let us learn from the history of the Ford Foundation and how it played a key role in the urban renewal program that assisted in moving tens of thousands of low-income families out of their homes between 1955 and 1974, to make way for buildings and convention centers. It’s everywhere now. Puerto Ricans are being thrown from their land. Going without water and electricity only to be called a Welfare Queen in my neighborhood after forced relocation. We see it everywhere. Who is really in charge of the road we are on if at the same time the very people you are up against are funding it? This is what is happening now in the anti-poverty world and you will not be funded if you talk about it or dare to build an independent, cooperative way of living, surviving, and organizing. But you will have something far greater… each other and the strength of our ancestors to stand on.

My dear Welfare Queens, you do have a choice. You can choose which road you want to take. Our road might be hard, ugly, and downright terrifying at times, but it’s a road that leads to political independence, freedom, dignity, and self-respect.

We need you on this road and we hope that you will join your fellow Welfare Queens and America’s hated poor on the March for Our Lives on June 2nd in Philadelphia when we will march to Washington D.C. to reconstruct Resurrection City. You can choose to not have the cat fund your mousehole. You can begin to join with other mice and Queens and build a cooperative economy and society. You can help us build the movement to end poverty, hunger, and homelessness, once and for all in this country and around the world. Another World is Possible! Another U.S. is Necessary and she’s on her way!

Sign up now to walk this road together and support our efforts by donating just $10 today!

Warm Regards,

Cheri Honkala

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign



Success For PPEHRC!!!!

March along broad street

The past week has been a huge success for PPEHRC. We started the week strong with March 4 Our Lives , the march along broad street to help end poverty and homelessness. Thousands of people joined us at 3pm on the south side of city hall , some even speaking to the crowd. On Wednesday we had a ‘fart in’ serving beans in South Philly in front of the AT&T station to the delegates who walked out of the Democratic National Convention, the beans symbolizing our belief that the two party system in America stinks!! Bloggers and reporters alike joined us as we shined light on the unfairness of the two party system in a humorous yet stimulating way. While these events took place we managed to have a somewhat successful Clintonville, even though two huge thunderstorms happened to destroy the area, forcing us to rebuild twice, we still did our best to accommodate homeless people around the Philadelphia area with makeshift homes in a field down American and Lehigh.

Overall its been an incredibly great week for PPEHRC and we feel as though we can create more success in cities around the US. PPEHRC works hard by making efforts to help homeless people, poverty is a huge issue in America and we put forth a lot of effort to lower these incredibly high statistics. Everything from protest to discussions with government officials, we make it our duty to help those who suffer through poverty and homelessness. If you would like to start a PPEHRC chapter in your very own city and can manage to gather at least 5 people who would like to participate in PPEHRC, and then contact the organization we are willing to help contribute to making the organization grow. This is a huge step towards creating more rights for people and together we can all help this organization expand!!


Poverty Reality Tour in a War Economy

A tour beginning in Norris Square Park to reveal the effects of the war economy on the people. In a nation where the poor are excessively taxed to front the costs of war while the very machine that they fund claims inability to care for its people, the consequences are dire. The National War Tax Resistance Coordination Committee works to support people who refuse to fund wars and advocates to redirect tax dollars to promote peace and stability. The PPEHRC will cohost the event with this organization to open our eyes to the faults of the war economy.


March for Our Lives 2016 at the DNC

The March for Our Lives 2016 is a call upon all victims of poverty and their allies to demand real economic change from the Democratic Party.  March down broad street to challenge the Democratic Party to earn its label as the poor people’s party by reaffirming the people’s right to accessible, affordable housing, higher education, healthcare, a living wage, full restoration of city services, and more.  This historic march has taken place over the past several conventions with turnout exceeding thousands of frustrated-but optimistic-Americans; join them and remind the Democrats that the people remain united to end poverty with or without their help.


PPEHRC Ticket Sales

PPEHRC are having a sale on Tyler Perry play  “Medea On The Run” tickets. Sold out show for tonight at 7:30 pm, we have six tickets available for sixty dollars. The original price or hundred fifty dollars has been cut, balcony seating, South Broad Merria Theatre. You can contact as on are facebook or twitter account. Half the income goes to the PPEHRC organization.


End Hunger in Kensington

Kensington Farm

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign needs your help to support the farm at 3rd and Cumberland to feed our community.

 We need your help to turn vacant lots into farms. These farms will provide us with a free source of healthy food.

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Follow Guillermo Santos’ Walk to D.C. to Protest Public School Budget Cuts

School_Hearings_1

Guillermo Santos, a student at John Moffet Elementary School, will participate in the City Wide Walk Out at noon today, May 17th, 2013 to protest the public school budget cuts.

Guillermo Santos, a 4th grader, a member of the Student Council, choir & drumming, saxophone and Jr. Fire Patrol, will walk out from his beloved John Moffet Elemetary School at noon with letters from all of the children at Moffet.

“We are both devastated and outraged that nobody seems to care about taking away our right to education.” I will make sure that the students of Moffet School will be heard.” Gillermo’s walk to Washington D.C. can be followed on his blog.