Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Time is becoming a problem.

Ahh! I'm supposed to be ready to leave for Atlanta in less than three hours. and I'm nowhere close.... so much to do, so little time.

I'm going to use this moment to tell you all to shop at Wild Oats. They donated two boxes of food for our trip... Just Because! So i love them. because everyone else was too greedy to help us out. and they sell yummy organic food :)

Anyway, we're leaving for Atlanta today and I'm pretty excited. We're sleeping in a church basement while down there and showers are going to be limited... so I will probably be pretty cranky. Plus, I have to get up earlier than everyone else to attend staff meeting. and I'm not a morning person.
BUT there will be some kickass workshops, panels, etc. And I will be, along with the rest of the 300-500 PPEHRC delegates, participating in a "March for Water" to Coca-Cola headquarters... oh, greedy water-buying-up corporation

SOOOOO.... I think I'm going to go pack for the week... and maybe I can update while down there.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Meetings galore

This has been a week for long meeting, haha. On Tuesday, we had our Annual Meeting, where we decide the issues we will be working on this upcoming year. On Wednesday, we had a staff meeting.

At our annual meeting we talked about the U.S. Social Forum, our new CORROC support group
(for parents whose children have been taken away by CPS), our new Revolutionary Reading group (which will help members with their reading and on their way to getting their GED), a workshop we're planning next month called "Theatre of the Oppressed" (more later), our Fairwell Fundraiser for Jennifer, electing new members to the Board, and new issues we want to tackle next year. Needless to say, we have a lot of stuff going on!

Due to its increasing popularity, we will be keeping on with the CORROC campaign. WIT found some success in its alliances with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Minimum Wage Campaign (yay legislation!), so we will be moving on to different issues. These issues must be decided by the members.

Some of the issues people came up with were - Food Justice (it is impossible to lead a nutritious lifestyle on food stamps), Restoration of Voting Rights (Only in Kentucky and one other state, felons voting rights are not automatically restored upon release from prison), Predatory Lending (i.e. Rent-a-Center, quick cash places that prey on the poor), the Quality of public schools, and Housing and Tenants Rights.

Food Justice and Quality of Schools are the top two issues we will be focusing on, in addition to CORROC. We will also be working on Tenants Rights and Predatory Lending in small ways that are TBD.

At our staff meeting, we talked mostly about the USSF, which we will be leaving for next Tuesday! In short, I have a lot of work to do before then... and while we're down there. I'm going to be the go-to person in Atlanta, so I should probably have some clue what's going on. I won't have internet access while I'm down there so expect a long post once I get back, July 1. I'll write again before I leave, since I don't think I've talked about USSF much and it's kind of a big deal...

Well, I guess I better start getting to work now, haha


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Everyone loves recruitment... right?

Our June newsletter is now done!

I would post a link to it here, but I can't quite figure out how to do that. I might e-mail it... that way you all can see what we're up to.

The picture to the left is of some of the people I work with. From left to right: Angela, Jason (whose bedroom I stole the first week I was here), Nicole, Virginia, and Cara.

Today we started on our new recruitment push with a day of recruiting around Sheppard's Square - a project near Downtown Louisville. We actually had a surprising amount of success. Expecting people to be rude made it even nicer when people were receptive. The first woman Angela and I talked with invited us in and seemed ready to jump right in with the organization. Most of the people we talked with actually seemed very interested and willingly gave us their information (i.e. name, phone number, address). Our Annual Meeting/Cookout is this Tuesday. We passed out flyers and invited everyone we saw... I really expect I'll see some of the same faces come Tuesday, which will be exciting.

All in all, we all left in a good mood (which is wonderful since I think everyone was dreading today). Hopefully we found some new members today... and I think we did!

It's still a little strange for me, however, never having experienced poverty. WIT is very strict about remaining run by poor people - not letting the rich tell them what to do. In fact, to be a member, you MUST be poor. Of course, those wealthier are welcome and encouraged to be supporters. There were a few times today where I just sat back and let the other recruiters talk - when they got to their experiences and such - for I couldn't relate. However, I do plan on being a supporter once my internship is over.

I'm just really glad today worked out. I don't think anyone's ever told me to "have a blessed day" before... but I heard it a lot today. Really breaks down those stereotypes of the projects, huh?

So, have a blessed day...


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

At the office...

Sorry about the frustration in my last post. This one will not be whiny... I promise.

Anyway, here I am at the office of Women In Transition... and I will take this time to tell you more about the organization I'm dedicating my summer to.
To steal straight from our brochure...

"WIT is a grassroots organization run by and for poor people working to create a world in which everyone's economic human rights are provided. Started in 1998 by welfare recipients, WIT believe that everyone has the right to affordable housing, healthcare, clothing, adequate childcare, clothing, and food for their families. We also believe that children should not be removed from their families because they lack these basic human rights."
"Being led by the poor is fundamental in building a movement to eradicate poverty. We use strong language and powerful actions, because eliminating poverty is something that can be done."

We have two main issues we've been working on this year...
-Dismantling Classism
-Claiming Our Rights, Reclaiming Our Children

We've also been working with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the Raise the Wage Campaign.

I have two jobs right now... preparing for the U.S. Social Forum and Recruitment. I've also been helping out with our newsletter, which should be out by the weekend!
This week looks like a lot of time in the office - on the computer and on the phone - and a recruitment push this Saturday. I'll try to update Saturday afternoon to tell you all how recruitment went! Hopefully it's more of a success than last Saturday :(


Monday, June 11, 2007

I am such a procrastinator...

SO... fellow Bonners, and whoever else decides to read this I guess? This is my first summer post because I am an imbecile when it comes to computers and just now figured it out... actually I'm jinxed and all technology hates me... but that's besides the point.

I moved to Louisville... have my own apartment - 4th street... pretty sweet.
I realized that I am completely dependent on my mother, although I like to pretend I'm independent. For someone who just moved out on their own, I have had some pretty crappy luck. The first day I got here my cell phone broke and I had to go buy a new one.... things such as that... broken car, getting stranded in Waddy, KY because I have no money or no gas, being extremely in debt to my mother, sleeping on the floor of my apartment in Sunil Ramaswamy's sleeping bag... ahhh I'm sorry I'm being such an emo kid.
I guess what I mean to say is: I'm frustrated. I keep thinking of things I need to do... some things I should have done awhile ago... and other things keep popping up...

I feel like I could be doing a better job at my internship with WIT... and I know I will once I get adjusted... but after this weekend (long day Saturday... lots of driving... no reimbursement for gas) I'm questioning it all... like why the hell do I do all this service? As I'm practically an Atheist, I know there's no religious pursuit here. I'm not even that worried at the moment about being a good person. I just do it because... well I don't know, I just always have and I don't know how it started.
Usually I work with kids, and with kids it's easy to see the difference you're making... it's easy to fall in love with them... and I have a very strong nurturing instinct (though that's probably a surprise to most everybody) there's a motherly part to Erica Horton.
Now it's different. I'm working with adults... adults who are poor, lacking resources, and unorganized. People from a completely different world than myself. And it's hard to sense where their coming from sometimes.

A lot of the work I've been doing is office-type stuff... and calling businesses asking for donations for our Atlanta trip. Hey guess what... corporate America is not so generous. at all.... OH wait.. Kroger said they'd give us a $10 gift card... yep.. that's pretty much the success I've had.

I've also heard some pretty intense stories. I spent an hour at a women's house working on an article for our newsletter. She's just joined up with WIT and is working with the CORROC program (Claiming Our Rights, Reclaiming Our Children). She's had 4 daughters removed from her. Her husband had all his children but one removed as well. This couple was extremely angry, yet seemingly very devoted to their faith in God. This woman's 18 year old daughter told the court she wanted to go home... they're permitting her to VISIT... isn't she a legal adult.
The thing is with a lot of these cases, children are removed for "neglect" and that neglect is actually poverty. The children are removed from their homes and often put into much worse situations.

Okay... so if you can't tell I'm a former live-journal-er (told you I was an emo-kid)... and I tend to ramble. So I'm going to end this one here and get back to cha'll later.