Welfare Rights Actions
Click on Past Actions
for more information about the Detroit
Water Dept. pickets,
Politician Home Visits,
AFSCME pickets, and more!
OUR WATER, OUR CITY
make it a law that the City of Detroit must
make water affordable
stop shutting off the water of
our petition campaign
Saturday, March 7
10 a.m.-12 noon, Central United Methodist Church, 4th floor,
23 E. Adams (at Woodward), Detroit
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
23 E. Adams, 4th Fl., Detroit, MI 48226
The next meeting of the MWRO UTILITIES
Will be Monday, March 2,
2009, 5:30 p.m.
Central United Methodist
Church, 4th floor, 23 E. Adams (at Woodward), Detroit, MI
Come and help us get ready for
our petition campaign, which kicks off on Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
CALL TO ACTION!
MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
December 9, 2006
of the Community
As we approach
the end of the year, we should reflect on where we stand today, and ask that
obligatory question, “Are we better off today than we were last year?” If we
are still on this side of the living, the answer is “NO”!
The country is
in turmoil from coast to coast. Pockets of poverty have now turned into regions
under the watch of these mean-spirited Republicans and their liberal sounding
Democratic friends. The national press is careful to select what areas they
find to highlight when it comes to the rising, invisible economic climate
reports they feed us on the nightly news. People are poor, are hungry, are
unemployed, are afraid, and are aware that the world as we know it has changed.
We are not confused, and we understand that if you are a working person, your
“stuff” is in trouble.
along with Hurricane Katrina states, we are hardest hit, so we have seen the
misery up close and personal for a longer stretch than others, but the nightmare
of economic pain is coming to visit us all.
For the first
time in decades, we have fulltime workers with no benefits! We have fulltime
workers in shelters. We have seniors dying before their time, cut down early by
the stress of being threatened with impending poverty because their pensions and
fixed incomes can’t cover the rising costs of living. We have babies finding
loaded guns that accidentally go off, killing or wounding one or more. We have
street crimes being committed by misguided persons who act more like savages
than our neighbors. In Detroit, we have 25,000 public school students who have
no healthcare coverage today. We have unprecedented poverty worldwide, and even
America has not been spared. US News and World Report writes that 2% of the
total world population OWNS 55% of the world’s resources. Scandalous!
everything we know is under attack and there are few voices raised to demand a
change. The time has come to draw that line in the sand. We are either going
to live as free people in this country, with access to all the implements of
survival regardless of the ability to pay, or NO ONE can live free and
contented. Let’s work for a change.
To that end,
Michigan Welfare Rights is issuing a “Call to Action.” For the
spring of 2007, we must be ready to emerge from another harsh winter, organized
for change. Most critical to the survival of thousands, is access to free and
clean drinking water, a requirement for life. The Water Affordability Plan has
been mired in bureaucratic madness since it was submitted for review and passage
by the Detroit City Council. The Water Dept. administration has hijacked the
Plan by various treacherous methods, and cannot get on the same page with the
rest of the city as they question this sentence this week, and another sentence
the next week. Endless memos and empty correspondences have been issued and
responded to week after week while the Dept. continues its diabolical pattern of
cutting water off at thousands of homes, month after month.
Many of our fellow community neighbors
will not survive this winter. Death by poverty is not a new phenomenon where
our lives are concerned, and we are all too complacent as we see what is certain
to occur again and again. A fire will take the lives of some children and some
seniors who were using alternate ways to heat themselves after their utilities
were turned off. Right after the news reports on the losses sustained, they
will go on to report the sports outcomes as if our lives and our deaths mean
nothing. Some argument will develop because we are too poor to pay for
something, and another person or persons will lose a life. Domestic abuse will
rise, elder abuse will occur, hearts will give out, strokes will be commonplace,
and no one will see the connection between our poverty, our suffering, our
sicknesses, and our early demise. Welfare Rights will organize the community
toward enrollment into the Water Affordability Plan so we can stop water shut
The second part
of the “Call to Action” involves the other great crisis we suffer, which is the
rising homelessness in our region. What sense does it make to have 14,000
homeless people in our area, and 44,000 vacant properties also standing, many of
which are livable, owned by the State of Michigan? We are proposing direct
action of both these fronts…we will be organizing efforts to move homeless
people into these properties, and will also organize the escrow accounts to pay
for our occupancy. We need carpenters to help restore these homes. We need
plumbers to help restore these homes. We need seniors to help sew curtains and
bake casseroles to help feed these families when they first move in. We need
lawyers to help get Welfare Rights members out of jail when we defy the banks
and move our people inside. We need Judges to release us. We need Police
Officers to refuse to arrest us. We need students to ring the properties and
help kick in doors. We need locksmiths to help us install new locks on these
doors. We need organized homeless providers to get on this page and work to end
this scandalous condition. We need the clergy who truly believe in a higher
power, to forsake the safety of their warm, inside pulpits to be the barrier in
front of us when the forces of evil come to bring us pain.
In closing, let
us remember the words Jack uttered in the movie, “TITANIC.” Remember, when he
looked at the situation and saw that the ship was about the sink, he stood on
the forward ledge as it rose, ready to plunge into the sea, he screamed,
“Alright Rose, this is it”!! This is it. We organize to save of community, our
people, our city, our state and our country, or we stand watch as slow and
consuming death picks us off, one by one. Let the courageous and the spiritual
among us step forward and prepare for change. Stand with us, and let us not
fall for systematic suffering not another damned moment!
Maureen D. Taylor, State
Michigan Welfare Rights
TENT CITY: 15
Flint, Ann Arbor
On November 11th,
2006 it will be 15 years since we organized the fight back against poverty and
homelessness by erecting "Tent City" in Detroit, Lansing, Flint and Ann Arbor,
Michigan against Governor Engler, the State Leaders and certain local leaders in
their attacks on the citizens of Michigan by eliminating and cutting badly
needed programs, such as General Assistance. These protests were organized by
the Detroit-Wayne County Homeless Union, the Michigan Up and Out of Poverty Now
Coalition (including MWRO), and several other community groups.
Michigan was one of the first state’s to cut
General Assistance to adults—over 100,000 Michigan residents—and contributed to
additional homelessness and poverty for single persons. Meanwhile, in 1991, the
City of Detroit had a 42% vacancy rate in its public housing units and was
failing to make repairs in HUD apartments.
We would like to
invite you to the gathering on
Saturday, November 11, 2006 at 4:00pm
Central United Methodist Church
23 E. Adams,
2nd Floor (at Woodward), Detroit
We need to
come together and look at the past and understand what we
must do for the
Homelessness has increased, more people's utilities are shut-off (water, lights
and gas), education means no-education, people are not able to feed their
families and the housing question is a joke, fewer and fewer people are without
health care and children are being taking away from their parents because they
are poor. Further, we cannot find good jobs with benefits.
President Bush is implementing his corporation agenda. He is implementing laws
to enact Fascism. We owe our children a better future. Please come out and see
friends, bring your family, friends and find out what is going on. We need you
to bring some of the following for the homeless hygiene kits we
are putting together for the homeless for Holidays at CUMC. We need items such
as toothpastes, toothbrushes, soap, lotion, deodorant, face towels, socks,
can call for more information at (313) 964-0618 or 965-5422, or leave a message.
We are looking forward to seeing you.
Organized by the Michigan
Welfare Rights Organization, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Metro
Detroit Labor Party, National Welfare Rights Union, and the peace and
Come out to the
Michigan Public Service Commission
Oct. 10, 2006 @ 6:00P.M. at the Downtown Campus of Wayne
County Community College District, 1001 W. Fort St.
If you have problems with your utilities and need some help with some answers
or just need to let your voice be heard by the Michigan Public Service
Commission about the problems with utilities, then come out to the Consumer
Commissioner Peter Lark, Chair of the MPSC will be leading the meeting. You
need to be there so Lansing will start doing something about the problems we are
facing with our utilities. If your utilities are shut-off, I know you will be
there, if you have a shut-off notice or are mad about the high cost of
utilities, then you need to be at the Forum.
Tell your neighbors, your Church members, club member, your family or get the
school to send leaflets to the parents about the meeting.
WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE MEETING! MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION
Status of the Water Affordability Program:
At the May 3, 2006, Detroit City Council meeting, Council Members reviewed the
Roger Colton's Proposal for the Design of the Water Affordability Program.
Councilman Kenyatta spoke on behalf of the Council and agreed that Mr. Colton's
proposal should be supported and acted upon. City attorney Robert Walter
informed Council Members that he is still writing two legal opinions about the
Program: the "check-off" option; and the other about the use of misc. revenue
sources (e.g. late fees and savings) to fund the Program.
On June 14, 2006, the Detroit Law Department submitted to the City Council
Research and Analysis Division its opinions that the check-off option and misc.
revenue sources are acceptable methods for revenue collection in the Water
6/26/06: This is the final week before the scheduled
implementation of the Water Affordability Program, however, Victor Mercado
has not initiated the contract with the third-party, non-profit
organization, or utility expert, Roger Colton! Please contact Director Mercado's
Write or e-mail Victor Mercado, Director, Detroit Water and Sewerage
Help us implement the Water Affordability Program in Detroit! Cut and
paste this text into your e-mail or U.S. postal letter and send it to:
Victor Mercado, Director, DWSD, 735 Randolph St, Detroit, MI 48226,
Dear Director Mercado:
I support the Michigan Welfare Rights
Organization's WATER AFFORDABILITY PROGRAM! I urge you to implement this plan by
July 1, 2006, as you have agreed to with MWRO and the Detroit City Council.
This plan includes:
Creating a DWSD funded water affordability program to
assist low-income customers with current and arrear bills to prevent water
Implementing the fund through a third-party,
non-profit organization with the technical knowledge and staffing to administer
Evaluating the program annually with a third-party
The Water Affordability Program is an important
step in ensuring the safety and well-being of the most vulnerable Detroit
residents; and is a good business plan for safeguarding the municipal Detroit
Water and Sewerage Department.
Critical Moment newsprint magazine
Take action! Support Michigan Welfare Rights
Water Affordability Plan for the City of Detroit!
Critical Moment supports the struggle for water access rights in our
communities. In previous issues (see below), we have told stories of Detroit
and Highland Park residents' resistance against water privatization, and the
struggle for access for all people. Now, activists and citizens are
mobilizing to deliver the message that water is not a commodity, but
a human right
The water affordability plan as proposed by the Michigan Welfare Rights
Organization has been accepted by City Council. Pressure is needed on Victor
Mercado, the Director of Detroit Water and Sewage Department, to implement
the plan by July 1.
Contribute to this urgent campaign by telling Mercado to do what's best
for the citizens and the water department and put the plan in to action
before any more lives are lost!
Critical Moment past coverage on
Read about AFSCME Local 207 & 2920 [Water Workers'] Letter to Detroit City
Council in Response to the Mayor's Proposed Budget FY 2006-7 on the DWSD:
In this four page letter, the union workers state:
Click here for the full
report (MS Word).
Send in your testimonials of Economic Human Rights Violations for the
National Truth Commission:
The Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign is collecting testimonials of
economic human rights violations from poor and low-income people across the
country. Please share your story and help us eradicate poverty by focusing
attention on the needs of the nation's people--especially those who go without
food, housing, utilities, clothing, education, healthcare, living wage jobs, and
other basic human rights. See the
Faces of the Fallen
project or MWRO Get Involved/Community Calendar
for more information. Mail in form (pdf) or