Parents Organizing for Economic and Welfare Rights

by adminsusan on March 30, 2010

Parents Organizing for Economic and Welfare Rights http://www.oly-wa.us/power/

POWER is an organization of low-income parents and allies advocating for a strong social safety net while working toward a world where children and care giving are truly valued, and the devastation of poverty has been eradicated.

We are a new organization with a long history. Ten years of working as the Olympia chapter of WROC, the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition, has sadly ended. However, former WROC members and staff are building a new statewide union of welfare recipients and allies with a stronger foundation. Member-led, consensus-based, POWER holds the following values:

Self Determination: We recognize the right of every person to determine the course of her own life, regardless of her class, race, gender identification, sexual orientation, or ability level. This includes the right to define her own identify, have basic needs met, access knowledge and learn skills; the choice of whether and when to have children; raise children according to her culture, convictions, spiritual beliefs, and intuition; and contribute to her community in meaningful ways. Our organization will reflect this in our treatment of one another, and forward these values in our culture and government.

Intentional and Strategic: We strive for our work to be powerful, responsive, and relevant to the needs of low-income families. To this end, we value independence and interdependence of local branches, and simplicity and openness of operations that allow for flexibility, personal relationships, sharing of power and responsibility, and holistic support of low-income parents. We strive for respectful, honest communication and healthy conflict.

Solidarity: While we are led by low-income parents and work towards their goals, we value knowing our local communities, and working to build coalitions. These coalitions will be inclusive of race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and religious differences, and the spectrum of political orientations of our members and allies. We will build solidarity with groups that have different focuses, and but share similar core values.

Children and Mothering: We honor the presence of children and caregivers in community life. We value the sacred work of care giving, and uphold the human rights of children.

Social Justice: We assert that the key to social justice is the equitable distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally, to meet basic human needs unconditionally, and to ensure that all people have full opportunities for personal and social development.

Woman-centered: We value women, and women�s full participation at all levels of society. We value the traditional work of women – homemaking, child and elder care, and community organizing and we believe women should be justly compensated. We assert that women�s lives are affected not only by sexism, but by the intersectionality of oppressions of gender, race, class, sexual orientation and others. We identify the historical women�s movement; however, we oppose racism and class ignorance within this movement.

Anti-oppression: We view racism, sexism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism as systemic, interrelated, and destructive to all of society. We work to end these and other forms of oppression at every level of our organization, our work and our relationships with each other. We work to create a world in which all people are valued, empowered, and have quality of life.

Throughout our tremendous changes, we have continued our important work:

  • Providing information to low income parents about their legal rights to public benefits.
  • Educating our communities about the realities of poverty, combating the very prevelent myths and stereotypes about welfare mothers.
  • Engaging with legislators and policy makers at the local, state and federal level to create and maintain a strong social safety net.
  • Using direct action to point out social and economic injustice.

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