Story Archives 2001

The Next Level

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Leroy Moore

As we sit back and reflect on the past year, we are proud of our accomplishments, and it’s time to take our work, talents, and voices to the next level. We’ve come a long way since the days of slavery, when we were killed because of our disabilities. But our struggles are not over.

In the 1990’s we witnessed the grassroots organizing and increased visability of Black disabled individuals and disabled minorities all over the world, who helped form the Black disabled movements in South Africa, the U.K. and now in California. All over California, newly formed statewide and local organizations for and by minority parents and minorities with disabilities are now established. For example, in 1997 Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization (DAMO) of San Francisco was born. Last year a statewide organization called Harambee Educational Council for African American advocates and parents of disabled youth and young adults held their first conference in Oakland and Los Angeles. As well, the first National Conference on Asian and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities was held in Los Angeles, and they are looking to hold the second conference in Oakland this year. Of course we can’t forget the only organization in California that advocates and supports the Hispanic disabled community and their families, LA FAMILIA Counseling Services of Hayward, CA. LA FAMILIA is the catalyst of this new growth of what I call the Minority disabled movement in California.

California has also seen in the last five years the talents and artistic voices of disabled minority poets and artists, from a Bay Area group called New Voices: Disabled Artists & Poets of Color to the emerging local talent of Idell Wilson. Wilson, an African American mother, poet and lecturer, wrote and self-published her book entitled "JIGSAW DREAM PUZZLE PIECES." This talented writer writes about her life as a low-income mother with invisible disabilities, who came out of homelessness and drug abuse to become a writer and lecturer. The Bay Area was blessed with the gorgeous voice and words of the late Celeste White, an African American mother, advocate, song writer and poet who passed away recently.

These contributions are just amazing, but we can’t rest! We need to take our organizing skills and talents to the next level. What is the next level? Here in the Bay Area, DAMO's new campaign called Building Friendships Celebrating Ability Campaign (BFCA) will reach neighborhoods with various educational, advocacy and artistic events and workshops. And although our accomplishments are incredible, in the Bay area many still don’t know that disabled minorities have a rich culture, history, and extraordinary talents.

On the other side, too many don’t know that disabled minorities have the highest rate of unemployment, face police brutality and street violence and are over-medicated in the mental health system. To add to this picture, disabled minorities and our issues are, nine times out of ten, not addressed in mainstream media or in our own ethnic media.

BFCA Campaign will be a platform for voices and issues that face disabled minorities in the Bay area. The main goals of this campaign are:
To empower other disabled minorities, to educate our communities and political arena in the San Francisco Bay area, and to keep alive the artistic talents and beautiful imaginations of our brothers and sisters who contribute so much to our struggle and who are still struggling or have passed away.

BFCA Campaign is only one avenue to take our work and talents to the next level. Everybody has a job to do. We also need our voices in the San Francisco political arena. It’s about time the School Board and other local politicians take on issues that face disabled students and other disabled minorities, who live in this city in a proactive stance. This is why I, Leroy Moore, am considering running for the School Board in the next election. But it doesn’t stop there. We need to be a part of the celebrations of Black History Month, Chinese New Year and Women's History Month, and other awareness-centered events. Our children should be able to click on the television and see a disabled minorities on sitcoms, or reporting the evening news. The next level of our work is revolutionary and bold, and necessary to keep our hard- gained achievements, to voice our minds and to make it easier for the next generation of disabled minorities. So as we ring in the New Year I ask you: Are you ready to take it to the next level?

By Leroy F. Moore Jr.
Founder &, Executive Director of Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization. DAMO
415 695-0153


Bustin' My Butt

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Leroy Moore

"Working 9 to 5S" Dolly Parton sang But I’m busting
my butt 24/7 "I bring home the baconS" Remember
that song I’m busting my butt keating leftovers.

People say what goes around comes around I1m
bustin1 my butt But no money is circling around me
Others say give and it will come back to you My closet
and heart are emptied But bills are all I have received.

Revolutionaries will die for the cause But what is the
real cause They are busin1 their butts for And striving
to death.

"Just give it time!" Tell that to my pocket and stomach
Tick tick tick tick Time is ticking and I am wasting
away physically and mentally

Bustin1 my butt for what Somebody ate my piece of
the pie The American Dream is a lie My life is like
Good Times

Busted my butt for that white paper so I get some
green paper But I was told I need more white paper So
I took out a loan

Now Uncle Sam wants some green paper for the white
I received

I1m bustin1 my butt But I1m still broke Stress out and
beat down Need to calm down before I have a stroke

DAMO1s 1st Annual Celebrating Ourselves

It was a beautiful day, not drop dead gorgeous. The
sun raised up on August 30th 2000 and DAMO1s staff
got busy. It was our first ever Celebrating Ourselves
Blasting Stereotypes on Visible & Invisible Disabilities
event at McLaren Park Amphitheater in San Francisco.

Walking like zombies, with sleep in our eyes, the
DAMO staff crowed into the kitchen to make one
hundred lunches, hang up posters and blow up
balloons.. All the obstacles we had run into for the last
three months of organizing this event , didn1t matter
on this sunny morning. Like they say in Hollywood
"the show must go on!". We descended on McLaren
Park Amphitheater at 9:00am. And oh my God did the
show ever go on!

ALike busy ants we covered the Amphitheater and turned
it into a rainbow of colors. Time was ticking away while
the sun beamed down on us helping us relax. The feet of
children and adults scrambled around the Amphitheater
decorating the stage and the seats. The show was
scheduled for 11:00-2:00 and we were doing good on
time. For entertainment we had a raffle and prizes, a live
DJ and dancers, a dance contest a poet, and yours truly
was the first disabled black clown. For refreshments we
had the lunches we packed plus 7UP and Frito Lays
donated three cases of soda and chips.

The gates opened and we waited for our audience. The
show stared at 12:00pm. (better late than never!). Idell
Wilson and I welcomed the crowd. The sun spilled over
the park and because of the heat I had to take off my blue,
red and yellow clown wig. The DJ did not waste any time
pumping up the crowd with our theme song. The whole
show was like climbing a ladder: the poets, artists and the
energy of the hosts with the hot licks of the DJ took
everybody higher and higher.

At lunchtime everybody mingled and got to know the
artists and the vision of DAMO. We raffled off toys,
Tupperware and we even had a disabled Barbie! The most
amazing element of the whole day was the children. Half
the audience was teens and children. They made the show
come together by dancing on stage and winning our
raffles. They danced with disabled poets and artists
without hesitation.

The show ended with a call for people to get involved in
Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization (DAMO).
We spoke of the emergency that disabled minorities are in
today and expressed our need for help.

One last note: this event could not have happened without
support from the Women1s Foundation, Bay Area
Homeless Program, LA FAMILIA, 7-up Bottling
Company, Frito Lays Company and all the artists and
poets who participated. A big special thanks goes out to
the staff of DAMO - especially Idell Wilson and her

DAMO plans to make Blasting Stereotypes on Invisible &
Visible Disability an annual event! We1ll see you next

By Leroy F. Moore Founder and Executive Director of
Disability Advocates of Minorities Org., DAMO



09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by Leroy Moore

There are always two sides of every story but many
the public only gets to hear or see only one side.
On July 26th the Bay Area and the rest of this country
will be celebrating the tenth birthday of the Americans
with Disabilities Act, ADA, of 1990, what disabled
Americans call Independence Day. But we have to
realize that there are two sides of this celebration and
of the disability rights movement.

Many times poor, homeless, youth, people of color
and immigrants with disabilities aren't given the
opportunity to express themselves during the ADA
birthday or any other time for that matter. This is why
Disability Rights Advocates of Minorities
Organization, DAMO in collaboration with many Bay
Area grassroots organizations, will be sponsoring: The
Other Side Rally at City Hall Plaza in San Francisco on
July 26th at 12pm. The goal is to present the other side
of the tenth birthday of the ADA and the disabled
rights movement.

As a Black disabled man, Independence Day is still far
away and I see no reason to celebrate! On July 26, 1990
President Bush turned to the four White, upper class
activists with disabilities near him and proclaimed, let the
shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down!
However for people of color, homeless, poor and
immigrants with disabilities the wall of exclusion is still
up in our communities, disabled leadership positions and
in the history behind the ADA. Lately this wall of
exclusion has turn deadly. For example, the San
Francisco Coaltion on Homelessness said that they have
witnessed more disabled people living on the streets
lately. From Margaret L. Mitchell to Ya Fang Li, disabled
people of color are victims of police brutality. Now
people with mental illness will experience more negative
force if Assembly Bill 1800, (i.e.,forced treatment)
passes in California.

Even the latest report from the National Council on
Disability, NCOD, reads that disabled people of color still
have the highest unemployment rate, this is why
traditional Black organizations are now working with the
NCOD. We individuals with disabilities are suppose to
leave our harsh reality that surrounds us everyday to
celebrate a piece of paper, the ADA, that hasn't touched
many in our community! I say lets come together and
voice our side of the story and find our own solutions.
We can't wait another ten years!


There is an emergency in our society that has been
ignored for too long. It certainly affects one of the
fastest growing sectors in this country and probably
worldwide. The lack of attention to disabled women of
color presents a dire emergency. In addition, disabled
women of color are the latest victims of institutional
racism. They have been under attack from law
enforcement throughout the country, as well as the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. Furthermore,
the status of disabled women of color is not included
in conferences on women and the disabled when
framing issues for media consumption.

Last year, I wrote an article on the brutality against
disabled people of color. During my research, I had
noticed that many of the cases involving brutality were
perpetrated on disabled women of color. In 1999, a
disabled elderly Asian woman filed a complaint against
an officer of the San Francisco Police Department. The
complaint stated that the policeman had hurt her while
she was collecting bottles for recycling near 3COM
Park. She reported that she suffered bruises on her
knees and hands.

We can’t forget the horrible death of Margaret L.
Mitchell, a black, homeless woman with mental
illness. Ms. Mitchell had been shot to death by a
LAPD officer because she had a foot-long

Although violence and disabled women of color have
been highlighted in the news lately, conferences on
women have not included disabled women.

A friend of mine attended the San Francisco Women’s
Summit at City Hall this year. Idell Wilson, an
African-American woman and advocate for people
with invisible disabilities, told me that no one talked
about women with disabilities. Idell Wilson offered to
work with the organizers of the summit by doing
outreach to the disabled community. She also offered
to make their language disability-friendly. The
coordinator of the summit refused her help.

According to a statistical report drawn from the Census
Bureau data on black and Hispanic adults with
disabilities, "Women face higher unemployment rates
and lower educational attainment than non-disabled
women of color and their white disabled peers." An
example of this can be extracted from the 1998
Conference on Minorities with Disabilities. It was
reported that disabled African-American women had a
98% unemployment rate. Although statistics on
disabled people are becoming easier to receive,
statistics on disabled Asians and Pacific Islanders do
not exist. The 1996 data from the United States
Census Bureau reported about 79% of the 14.2 million
Asians-Americans and Pacific Islanders with severe
disabilities were jobless. Furthermore, the United
States has a long and well-documented history of
discouraging immigration and an equally documented
history of failure to grant citizenship to people with
disabilities. Women and those from certain racial and
ethnic communities have been particularly burdened by
these past practices. The historical pattern of
discouraging and actively restricting the immigration
and citizenship of people with disabilities has
continued on into the 1990s and today through a more
indirect, yet equally exclusionary practice of denying
immigrants with disabilities their right to reasonable
accommodations in the naturalization process.

I bring this up because lately disabled immigrate
women have lived this reality. For example in July of
1997 the San Francisco Independent had an article
entitled WAITING GAME. It reported on how a
disabled young lady’s sister try to get her sister
citizenship but the INS said that because of her
disability it was difficult to get a satisfactory
fingerprint sample. And recently the Asian Week had
an article entitled Disabled Women Sues for
Citizenship. Officials said Vijai Rajan was denied
citizenship because her inability to comprehend the
oath of allegiance due to medical certified condition,
according to INS documents. The INS bypassed that
Rajan lived in the United States since she was four
moths old. She is now 18 years old. She has brought a
lawsuit against the INS.

The above cases are only scratching the surface when
it comes to the lives and struggles of disabled women
of color. What is sad and shocking is that conference
leader; summit coordinators, feminists, authors etc.
nine times out of ten have no clue what’s happening to
their disabled sisters of color. Did the Million Women
March in ’99 include issues and leaders that represent
disabled women of color? Do you understand we have
an emergency on our hands! My disabled sisters of
color its time to take a stand!


No Feliz Compleanos

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Mother of millenium baby unemployed, facing homelessness

by The Associated Press

PATERSON, N.J. Last year Felicia Hernandez gave birth to
New Jersey's first baby of the new millennium, bringing herself and
son Yordy media attention and local fame.

Gov. Christie Whitman sent a letter of congratulations,
neighbors cheered when Hernandez walked by, and the doctor who
delivered Yordy said in a television interview that the boy
embodied hope for the future.

Hernandez told the media that Yordy would one day become

But the mother's hopes diminished in 2000 as she lost her
factory job and received an eviction notice. On Tuesday, she must
begin working for welfare benefits.

``I'm a little desperate,'' Hernandez told The Herald News of
West Paterson for Monday's editions. ``But I'm not crazy because I
pray to God.''

The 33-year-old native of the Dominican Republic was laid off
from her job at a bookbinder in Ringwood, where she had been
employed for five years.

State law gives welfare recipients two years to get a job or
begin a work program. Hernandez must attend a work experience
program Tuesday, and worries about how she will find someone to
take care of her four kids, the oldest of whom is 8.

She said finding a new job is difficult because she must pay
someone to watch her children. She also can't speak English --
which is why she now faces eviction.

Hernandez did not understand a letter First Preston sent to
residents of her building, notifying them that the owner of the
building foreclosed on a federal loan. First Preston is contracted
by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hernandez was given 20 days to secure a place in the building.
HUD spokeswoman Sandi Abadinsky said the agency assumed Hernandez
found a new place when she didn't reply.

Prompted by press inquiries, HUD gave Hernandez a six-month
extension and plans to assign her a Spanish-speaking case manager.
But Hernandez struggles from month-to-month in the apartment she
has currently.

The family gets by on $300 in food stamps and $424 in cash.
Hernandez pays $450 in rent.

The bedroom window doesn't close, the shower is boarded up and
the front door is secured with a ribbon.

None of the fathers of the children provide any support.

Meanwhile, many people in her neighborhood still cheer for
Hernandez and her millennium baby when they're out. Some mistakenly
think she won prize money from a Spanish-language television
station for having one of the first births in 2000, but Hernandez
said she can't even afford to throw a party for her son's first

``I feel bad,'' she said. ``Everyone keeps asking if I'm going
to have a party because he was a millennium baby, but I tell people
I can't.''


New Century Plus

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

A new era dawns what will we do?

How will we live and cope in this shinny age?

Does The Future look bright or is it still to dim for us to see?

by Joseph Bolden, staff writer,

It’s not only a brand new year but the true end of 20th century, start of the 21st century or real millennium.

People have celebrated many ways, some killed, a few died near, on, or after New Years day.

What I did was visit Reno along with my mother, brother and his friends.
I lost money, won a bit, slept in a hotel, gambled more and before the stroke of twelve went into Navada's crisp frigid air to see brilliant, sparkling fireworks then quickly returned inside the warm of our hotel have I mentioned [its freezing in Reno.]

By 2:41 I'm asleep. There is a new President elect transitioning into the White House. I do not know what will happen this 2001 but I know it won’t be boring.

My New Years Resolutions are:

Be and stay aware of what’s happening.

Get healthy and stay that way if possible.

Be independent both financially and mentally.

Don’t sweat big or small stuff, let'em go.

Don’t think about women, concentrate on health of self.

There are others which are private. I’ll try to read my back up e-mails
and send replies as time permits. To everyone. HAVE A, SAFE NEW YEAR-CENTURY, AND MILLENNIUM.

So I’m a little late, I was never good at this e-mail or uploading stuff on my own site. I'm starting to loath both the 21st. century; thanks a lot.
A.J. Bye.


Sistas In Savage Society And Birth Deprivatory

09/24/2021 - 11:35 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body
pstrongA poem about single mothers/strong/p pDIV align="left" TABLE cellpadding="5"TR VALIGN="TOP"TD/td/trTR VALIGN="TOP"TD/td/trTR VALIGN="TOP"TDTR VALIGN="TOP"TD pby Marlon Crump/Poverty Scholar POOR Magazine/p p Did y'all see?/p pbr / Did y'all see?/p p You reekersbr / br / of public reliefers,br / br / when she told youbr / br / she had to work lengthy hours,br / br / while you smiled,br / br / a vile and vicious / br / You knewbr / br / she had to drift a couple of miles,br / br / with ancient shoes on her feet,br / br / a house with no heatbr / br / and giving her a workfarebr / br / she can never complete:/p p You did so,br / br / sitting in office leather upholstery,br / br / engulfed by lies of leisures,br / br / weekend planning of nightclubs,br / br / stacked with papersbr / br / of promissory / br / You still askbr / br / her repeated questions to annoy her,br / br / frustrate her,br / br / irritatebr / br / and economically eradicate her./p p The babies are crying to be fed,br / br / then put into bed,br / br / so she can't utter defeat:/p p Your houses/studio-apartmentsbr / br / fuel your energy and ego,br / br / as her superior,br / br / while you shame and defile her plightbr / br / in light of her fight as a multiple mom,br / br / but inferior in your / br / Your eyes are shut,br / br / unseen that you too also lackbr / br / the great castle act,br / br / while she sought solacebr / br / and refuge with her young,br / br / in her habitat,br / br / with her back holding the shack:/p p Did y'all see?/p p When caseworkersbr / br / of no guest workers,br / br / when she so-desperatedly sought refugebr / br / in your country that you so vowbr / br / as the land of the free,br / br / but didn't lift a finger to aid her?br / br / Nothing but her ownselfbr / br / and little dignity she had / br / Your sadistic manly desiresbr / br / falsely promised her salvation,br / br / if she let you pin her back:/p p Even in safehavensbr / br / you call shelters,br / br / she's promised a bottom bunk,br / br / a decent bath and a nourishing fed,br / br / you still bestow your powerbr / br / upon her to share your / br / "Unless I comply,br / br / I may die,br / br / as a resultbr / br / of hot lead" you / br / At this point,br / br / her face is blood-red:/p p What about a pregnant mom,br / br / looking for someone tobr / br / at least be heldbr / br / and told that her childbr / br / will cry and not / br / Shes see the father walk by,br / br / she asks why?br / br / He just sneeredbr / br / as he walks by,br / br / with a pathetic ass / br / Her son will not live this lie,br / br / alive or dead:/p p Did ya'll see?br / br / When a young mom couldn't evenbr / br / complete the alphabet,br / br / but now lives to regret,br / br / being upset after tossing her childbr / br / from elevationbr / br / higher than Mount Everest,br / br / seeing and fleeingbr / br / for luxuriesbr / br / from a colored T.V. set?:/p p Her selfless pity,br / br / o iddity bitty,br / br / of siddity,br / br / with wealth and romance,br / br / of so much finance,br / br / with a decorated carriagebr / br / of her own initiated miscarriage,br / br / of a now drifted off / br / A lifebr / who's own altitude bearing wingsbr / br / clipped,br / br / by a mom's longitudebr / br / of lust for leisures,br / br / a tale too tragicbr / br / for anyone to forget:/p p Did ya'll see?/p p When a mom plagued by demonsbr / br / and ghost whispers,br / br / brain sustained as insane,br / br / with no nerves of steel,br / br / no heart to healbr / br / or spouse to / br / She tries desperatedlybr / br / to love her off and spring,br / br / but agents of infantsbr / br / take them off as they sing,br / br / promising thembr / br / what tomorrow will bring:/p p What must I, how can I, where can I, who can I,br / br / or why can I,br / br / make any of youbr / br / feel,br / br / see,br / br / smell,br / br / hearbr / br / or even taste the earth,br / br / wind,br / br / water,br / br / or fire I walk / br / I couldn't, wouldn't or shouldn't have to./p p Did you'all ever see?br / br / Hurry up and arise,br / br / before your bell starts to ring,br / br / Bling, Bling, Bling, Bling:/p p "To every struggling mother in the universe,br / br / The Lord thy Father,br / br / is one baby's fatherbr / br / that will never forgetbr / br / to hold the fruit from your womb,br / br / even while the other doesn' / br / Whether the child is downbr / br / below or up and above,br / br / he will never escapebr / br / His Undying Love."/p pMarlon Crump 10/31/2006br / /p/td/tr/td/tr/table/div/p

Homeless Entrepreneurs

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

Leroy and Melissa Moore discuss the difficulty of working, running a business and even an organization while struggling with vehicular housing and homelessness

by Leroy and Melissa Moore

It’s a New Year but nothing is new for homeless entrepreneurs, low income, middle class folks, artists and other people trying to live, survive and thrive in the Bay Area.

We are all in a boxing match with the Bay Area’s muscle bound housing market. This endless match has caught many young entrepreneurs with a one two in the gut and an upper cut to the chin but we duck and dive the blows and hang on to the ropes for support. The San Francisco housing market could whip Muhammed Ali and Mike Tyson’s butts.

What’s so sad is that many entrepreneurs and artists have been knocked out of the ring and given up on their careers in order to take on more than one job, just to live in this city. This situation has hit the Moore family in more ways than one.

Melissa and Leroy Moore are young African American entrepreneurs trying to make a difference in the most expensive city in this country, but they find themselves consistently on the borderline of being homeless and having to close their businesses.

For more than ten years, Melissa has provided day-care in the Potrero Hill district of San Francisco. She has raised many babies and has hired one or two employees to help her with the kids. However, during these ten plus years as a day-care provider she has experienced wrongful evictions, at times living with friends across the Bay or sleeping in her car with her dogs.

The boxing match began when Melissa was living on DE Haro Street. After two years of renting out and fixing up a gorgeous though run-down house, she read that the house in which she lived was being sold, and the open house was about to happen that afternoon. She found out about the open house in the local newspaper, not from her landlord. This started the cycle of living on a boot string.

Melissa’s next door neighbor, a 90-year old lady, saw Melissa’s big heart at work with the kids at her day-care and her consistent helping hand in the neighborhood community. So this elderly lady and her daughter invited Melissa to move her business- and herself- into this kind lady's basement. It was a great opportunity for both parties. Melissa watched over the elderly lady, and Melissa could set up shop in her basement.

One evening, Melissa went upstairs as she used to do every night to check on the eldely lady and found her face down on the floor. Melissa called her daughter, and that’s when everything changed. Once again, Melissa was hit with a low blow. The elderly lady’s daughter changed her mind about Melissa living there, wanting the house to herself after her mom passed away. After a month of verbal abuse Melissa got a lawyer. When it was all over, Melissa found herself out in the cold again, scrambling for a place to live.

Now, almost two years later, Melissa is still providing top notch day-care five days a week, but is living in her car with her three dogs. She is down to garbage bags full of her clothes, dog food and other basic needs. At 6:00pm she cleans her day-care, packs her stuff, feeds her dogs and looks for a quiet place where she can park her car and go to sleep.

Police and people in many neighborhoods have told her that she could not park and sleep in their neighborhoods. Many people complain about her dogs barking or being left in a car all day. The complaints got so bad that one day after work she discovered that her car was towed away and the dogs were taken to a shelter. Although times are rough for Melissa, one thing keeps her going, her baby, her own job which means seeing the smiles on the kids faces every morning.

Melissa’s brother, Leroy, has followed in her footsteps of being his own boss and also has faced the endless boxing match of being on the edge of homelessness. It all started in 1997 when Leroy decided to quit his job and start Disability Advocates of Minorities Organization, DAMO, the only organization in California that is run by and for disabled minorities. For almost three years Leroy and others have build this organization with no financial backing causing Leroy to do consulting work just to pay bills and keep DAMO going. Although Leroy is a home care provider to a young disabled teen and gets room and board in exchange for his duties, he is consistently walking a thin line between his government benefits, lecturer fees, consultant work and his small salary from the first grant that DAMO received this year.

With the reality of his sister being homeless, Leroy decided that he and his sister should put their resources together to find a place where Melissa can live and keep providing day-care and where Leroy could continue working on DAMO, his consulting, lectures and writing, the only problem is the prohibitive cost of housing . On top of everything else, Leroy, a college graduate never wanted to relay on government cash benefits. He is in danger of making too much in a month for disability benefits and his goals has out reach the confine rules of government disability benefits. The common advice Leroy always receives is to get a real job but if he does that it would eat into his organization, lectures and writing.

So what’s going to happen to the Moores? Like many young entrepreneurs, they will find another avenue to balance their careers with the brutal reality of living in a boxing ring called San Francisco. If you can help keep them from being homeless and keep their doors to their businesses open, please give us a call.


To Heat or to Eat?

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

PNN staff writer discusses the impossiblity of paying for utility bills and anything else

by Lisa Gray-Garcia

I was cold. The February wind whipped up and circled through the invisible holes in my pants. It was dark. I could barely see the phone I was holding. The chill was starting to get to me. I was standing in my house.

It had been 24 days since the PG&E worker had lumbered into the lobby of our apartment building carrying his globe-sized Orwellian time clock and asking everyone in a voice that reached up through six flights of stairs and out through the fire escape, "Where is apartment five? I’m here to turn off the utilities for nonpayment...."

I considered pretending not to be home. Perhaps that would delay the inevitable. But instead I chose a direct, desperate plea. I ran downstairs to the foyer, motioning to him furtively, trying not to look at the crowd of neighbors that had gathered.

"So, Miss Gray-Garcia, are you prepared to pay your bill or should I proceed with the shut-off?"

"But we asked for a five-day extension-my little sister is sick . We can’t be without heat...aren’t you a public utility?" His eyes stared down at me, then closed once before resting at half mast.and proceeded to pronounce very loudly, "We are a business..... Ms. Gray-Garcia, not a social service."

24 days later the suffocating odor of rotting milk products from our shut-down fridge permeated the air of our dark, cold hallway as I stood shivering with the phone receiver in one hand. Thirteen calls later to advocacy agencies had elicited one of two constant refrains, "We have no more funding for utility subsidies" or; You are no longer eligible- you already applied once..."

That experience happened last year, I was working - but still barely able to afford utility bills- now I am scared. As the executive director of POOR magazine, I am still low income- and as I watch an already high utility bill skyrocket to an even higher utility bill, I wonder how I and my fellow low income bay area residents will be able to pay these rates - most of us will not be able to afford the luxury of heat and lights- Most of us will in fact, be forced to decide whether to pay for rent and food versus the luxury of a warm shower or a light to read by-

I have listened extensively to the rhetoric of the corporations, trying to offer rationale after rationale for this situation- and profering the concept of "conserve, conserve, conserve- POOR folks have always conserved - we share bath water and limit our showers to 45 seconds- we turn off the heat and warm our hands over the stove- we buy blanket after shabby blanket- but that is definitely NOT the answer- We all know - even the least informed among us, that so much is so wrong with how this whole thing happened.

Consumer groups like Global exchange and TURN have offered the only light ( no pun intended) at the end of the tunnel, with a group of possible solutions for concerned consumers 1) "reregulate", i.e, to address the very reason the utility companies are proceeding with these actions is because of the "deregulation legislation" and to revisit that with a new form of "regulation" . 2) folks should organize and demand that their city create their own form of municipal power such as the kind that the city of Alameda has.
3)Finally, that consumers should in effect "strike" PG and E and Southern California Edison by paying their utility bills based on the old rates-

I am not sure which one or all of these things myself and all of the poor Bay Area families, elders and children will be able to do. Everything, including daily survival, will be difficult, as we sit shivering in our apartments, scared and confused and dreaming of a home cooked meal or maybe even a cold glass of milk


Parental Reauthorization

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
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PNN staff writer reports on welfare reauthorization under new health and human services director; Tommy Tompsen

by Kaponda

Like the proverbial hen, my grandmother would always lay an egg in the refrigerator for each of my six sisters and brothers and me to fry before we went to school. After we had consumed our egg with a buttered slice of toast and a healthy episode of the animated television cartoon, Mighty Mouse, each of us would then fly upstairs to the bedside of grandmother to beg for a nickel for candy. Her weary eyes hardly ever opened as she groped for the small purse which she would set on the end table after coming from work at the Mariott Bakery at 5:00 o'oclock every morning.

More than three and one-half decades have past since those childhood days in Washington, D.C.. As I reflect back on her dutiful adherence to the welfare of her seven grandchildren, I sometimes wonder how she kept such a large family together on a minimum-wage income and a monthly government check. Clearly, without the support of that low-income job and welfare check the bottom would have come out from under us during those years. We probably would have become another case for the Child Protective Service.

In fact, government assistance has allayed many anxieties of parents since the federal government responded to a national cry of relief in 1932. Although welfare has always been a subject of taboo outside the partitions of official business, it has kept many poor families together. Welfare has been ridiculed by middle- and upper-class America, and those who have been too young to recognize the sighs of relief by the many fragile vessels whose tears have been kept from spilling over into the streets.

However, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program was restructured. Instead of its original mandate of January 17, 1935, which provided for the welfare of poor families, in 1996, Congress enacted the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This shrewd initiative placed time limits on entitlements and replaced AFDC with a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program with a proviso that after five years TANF must be reauthorized.

The reauthorization of TANF had seemed unproblematic until a blustery, biting storm out of Madison, Wisconsin blew into Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 20, 2001. Now, the severe restrictions which were imposed upon low-income and poverty-stricken families by Congress in 1996, have been threatened further by the past policies of the new Health and Human Services Secretary, the former Governor of the state of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson. Welfare advocates around the country have begun to mobilize support for not only the reauthorization of TANF, but what they view as necessary improvements in the current version. Furthermore, many welfare advocates see Tommy Thompson as an axman selected by President Bush to slice the current time limits and language of TANF even further.

Usually garbed in a stark, clean blouse with a milky backwrap, grandmother would fasten her hair with a headband as she prepared for another around-the-clock day of work. There were no limitations on her determination to provide for the children of her daughter. A time frame on the entitlement which helped achieve this, however, would probably have amounted to a loss from which she could never recover and certainly would have deprived us of both our bread and butter.

"On Tuesday, August 22, 2000, we launched a program to develop ideas that would jump-start the political campaign to institute necessary changes in the reauthorization of the TANF legislation in September of 2002. A follow-up conference is scheduled for February 18, 2001," stated Martina Gillis of the Coalition for Ethical Welfare Reform (CEWR).

A former recipient of welfare and now the director of CEWR, Gillis views welfare as critical aid which "sets up a system that supports families through hard times." Since there is currently one in seven children throughout the country who experiences these hard times, Gillis is especially wary of the sophisticated welfare policy of the Health and Human Services Secretary. It is a policy characterized by complex and highly complicated reforms that are fraught with stringent criteria for eligibility.

A native of Elroy, Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson was elected Governor of Wisconsin in 1986 on a strict reform platform. He has claimed victory over dependence by reducing the rolls of welfare by 74 percent across the state, which includes 73 counties. His policies will not come as a surprise in the city by the Potomac, where the cherries blossom. In fact, his welfare policy guidelines between 1986 and 1996 influenced much of the TANF legislation of 1996. If it is true that form follows function, then privatized welfare delivery, after the form of the Wisconsin welfare reform, will become the federal status quo under the new Health and Human Services Secretary. The nation will see a competitive bidding process whose chief criterion will be to drastically reduce caseloads in a short period of time. Thompson will bring to the seat of government the basic assumption that the size of the caseload of welfare recipients is the principal measure of success.

"The reduction of welfare rolls is not the measure of success," stated Gillis, "Rather, it should be reducing and eliminating poverty."

How has this policy propelled Thompson to his current status if, as many advocates believe, a policy implemented to encourage the wholesale reduction in caseloads is insensitive and expedient? In fact, according to a report by Workfare Watch , there were "numerous complaints" about the performance of for-profit welfare delivery companies. Some of the complaints included cases of recipients being closed without any contact with the families, cases where group rather than individual assessments were conducted, and cases where a failure to respond to telephone calls of recipients created further problems.

The complexities of the Wisconsin reforms were the central reason for their success and the success of Tommy Thompson. Complexities which included the denial of education and training to welfare recipients, while utilizing the "dissuasion" effect of work requirements. By operating their reform initiatives and requiring most new applicants to find private-sector, low-wage jobs, or perform community-service work shortly after enrolling in welfare, Wisconsin drastically reduced the number of recipients on the rolls of welfare.

There never seemed to be a "family hour" in our household because grandmother was either at work or exhausted from her household duties.

A recent study, according to Ruth Todasco, an older mother and new grandmother, was done in Los Angeles county with poor working mothers. The study discovered that poor working mothers only get to spend 30 minutes a day with their children...."

"Welfare reform is insulting...." continued the Texas-born Todasco, in an interview with my editor, Lisa Gray-Garcia. "It is saying that the 24-hour job mothers do of raising all the people of the world is 'nothing.' Government policy says the years of raising children are the zero years." Ruth Todasco is a member of Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, which is coordinated by International Wages for Housework Campaign, organizing and advocacy groups for mothers. "Furthermore," Tadasco continued, "We oppose welfare reform because it denies that every mother is a working mother." Todasco, along with 250 other mothers, presented six demands to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles during the summer of 2000, to be carried to Tommy Thompson and Congress during the upcoming reauthorization hearings in September of 2002.

My grandmother needed no other reward for her parental excellence except that her grandchildren were properly fed, clothed and educated. But the history of the voracious appetite of the incoming Health and Human Services Secretary of devouring the welfare entitlements of the neediest families in America through reform is an unconscionable punishment.


Sleeping Zone

09/24/2021 - 11:34 by Anonymous (not verified)
Original Author
Original Body

by By The Associated Press (courtesy of The Homeless People's Network)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Homeless living in cars and campers may be
getting help from the Board of Supervisors: Special sleeping zones in
parking lots.

With rents at an all-time high and more people taking refuge in cars, the
board will consider a proposal Feb. 27 that establishes sleeping zones in
the parking lots of designated churches and public lots.

Supervisor Gail Marshall proposed the law at the request of homeless
advocates. One plan allows three cars per night to park legally and
rent-free in the parking lots of public and private facilities.

A similar program in Eugene, Ore., is serving as a model for county officials.

``It's an issue that needs to be addressed and we agreed to initiate the
discussion,'' said John Buttny, aide to Marshall.

Hundreds of people live in their vehicles on the South Coast, many of them
living on $700-per-month disability checks, officials said. Public sleeping
and camping is against city and county laws.