Listening to Whom Part 2


root - Posted on 31 December 1969

Every Mother is a Working Mother Coalition Statement at Tommy Tompsens’ “Listening Session”,

by Edna Lopez

The Every Mother is a Working Mother Network is here today because we are outraged by welfare "reform" which denies that caring for our children has any value, and discriminates against all who do caring work. We are outraged that Tommy Thompson known internationally for having the most punitive enforcement of welfare "reform" in the Country and who now heads HHS, and Wade Horn his right hand man, steeped in homophobia, who pushes marriage as a solution for mothers on welfare, has the nerve to call what is going on inside this building today a listening session. Those of us who have suffered as a result of welfare "reform" are being locked out. The HHS listening sessions are nothing more than a cover-up.

Welfare reform is an attack on all of us, whether or not we are on welfare, it is forced work and low waged work recruitment, forcing mothers into a killing workday. It puts our lives and the lives of our children in jeopardy when we are pushed to the limits financially, physically, and emotionally. It has widened the pay gap even further between women's and men's wages. Because of "welfare reform", more women and children are living in poverty, resulting in more of us ending up homeless, in prostitution and otherwise criminalized. Our children are left in the care of strangers, hungry, and usually with no medical benefits. This will get worse when the time on the 60-month time clock for receiving benefits runs out and we will be left destitute with no safety net.

I have personally suffered the injustice and tragedy because of welfare "reform" and witness it through friends, family, and acquaintances. Yvette, a friend and classmate who was a single parent, like me, was killed on an off ramp on an LA freeway, too tired to make a sensible decision because she worked two jobs, went to school full time, and was raising her daughter. She, like many other women, and me was faced with the choice of either being financially, physically, and emotionally exhausted trying to survive without welfare benefits or of being humiliated at the welfare office. On top of a killing work day, I've had the additional stress of fighting with case workers and have had to demand state hearings to get the benefits and food stamps my kids and I are entitled to.

Welfare "reform" has destroyed welfare as a right and entitlement and it is a racist attack. The majority of those receiving benefits are Black and Latina. Many Latino and Black youths are left with no real choices but prison or the army, resulting in 60 percent of the US armed forces now being people of color, lives that are considered expendable. Meanwhile money is poured into the military spending and weapons for the bombing of Afghanistan and other military actions around the world threatening even more lives, and corporate welfare, a "safety net" for corporations is being handed out in the billions in Washington DC.

Welfare "reform" denies the work women with disabilities and older women do caring for themselves and others. It forces lesbian and other mothers to name the father of their children and sue for child support. It puts women at risk of violent relationships. It discourages breastfeeding. It cuts benefits to immigrant women. Although the UN has called for caring work to count, welfare "reform" ignores that.

We are calling for the value of caring work to be reflected in welfare benefits: and end to time limits, other punitive measures and discrimination; and end to forced work; education and training of our choice; the right to benefits must not depend on immigration status. Mothers must have the choice to raise our own children!

Caregivers are the heart of the economy but along with our children always come last. Killing is prioritized over caring, the non carers over the carers. We say Welfare, Not Warfare! Stop the War! Invest in Caring, not Killing!

Every Mother is a Working Mother Network campaigns to establish that raising children and caring work is work, and that the time mothers spend raising children, and the economic value of their work be included in our right to welfare and other resources. We campaign for resources to enable a mother to raise her own children full-time or to also work outside the home. We are a national multiracial grassroots network from different situations. EMWM is coordinated by the Wages for Housework Campaign. On Wednesday, November 28, 6:30pm EMWM will be hosting a; Teach-In on "Invest in Caring not Killing. Welfare not Warfare". at Centro del Pueblo, auditorium, second floor, 474 Valencia, childcare program. For more information Contact them at: 415-626-4114; 323-292-7405. E mail 70742.3012@compuserve.com

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