Friday, April 4, 2014

Reflections on the Anniversary of Dr. MLK Jr.'s assassination

Dr. MLK Jr. marching in Detroit, 1963.
Marching through Detroit, 1963. Photo from
Then, and Now…

Today marks the 46th year of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, April 4th, 1968.  Many events have transpired since that bullet rang out just a short time ago that requires an analysis of our current situation.  Where does one start to understand the roots of the current crisis unless we compare and contrast what was then and what is now.

The attempts on Dr. King’s life are chronicled.  His pursuit of equal access throughout the South was highlighted by his relentless fight to stop the violence against Blacks in communities, on the farms, in schools, at work, and in all phases of everyday life.  In the grip of the Vietnam War, the country was torn by so many events, many of them aired on nightly national television.  Our existences were filled with bombings, attack dogs, demonstrations, and terrible violence with no end in sight.  Were those the “good old days”?

As we pause to remember the significance of this day, the new world reality has shaken us to our core.  President George W. Bush, V.P. Dick Cheney, and the Koch Brothers tricked the country into a war that was based on an absolute lie.  The World Trade Center bombings were attributed to Iraq and their allies, and after several months, said intelligence was proven to be untrue.  The impact of such an outrageous series of events that touched the lives of countless Iraqis and Americans injured or killed because of this gross un-truth has been mostly excluded from the pages of history…but it happened.

So, over a 46 year span of time, our consciousness includes both ends of this spectrum.  Dr. King was murdered because he wanted peace, freedom and equality for all.  On April 4, 2014, we still can’t find peace, freedom for all is questionable, and we are still reeling from the abuse of the 1% who will not tolerate economic equality.  How is corporate America working out for us, these days?  Miss you, Dr. King.

Maureen D. Taylor
State Chairperson – MI Welfare Rights Org.

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Call for Progressive Action

Calling Progressives: Geoffrey Fieger, Monica Lewis-Patrick, Jeff Edison, Rev. Ed Rowe, Ed Deeb, Nasser Beydoun, Rev. Bullock, Magic Johnson, Cornelius Pitts, JoAnn Watson, and all of the visionaries of Michigan...where the hell is our fight and our capacity to dump Snyder?

Photo from
A grassroots initiative is being mounted to lead and to galvanize our resources and talents in an effort to stem the tidal wave of attacks against our quality of life and we need all-on-deck to pull together the required dollars. 

The governor speaks about a "surplus," but doesn't mention where these funds came from. In Auschwitz and Buchenwald, there were surpluses as well...extra eye glasses, extra teeth, extra pairs of pants, dresses, socks, shoes, etc. 

Thousands of welfare mothers and their children were stripped of the meager cash assistance they were living on during a time of extreme unemployment across MI. Mental Health sites had their funding slashed or zeroed-out, entire public education systems closed, state funding owed to Detroit and other urban cities was not paid, pensions were taxed, and the greatest insult of all was the coronation of an EM who gets paid $1000/per hour -  $8,000 a day. 

A welfare mom with one child is entitled to $420/mo - $5040/per year! $8,000 per day versus $5,040 per yr?

Millions of our tax dollars are being paid out to scoundrels -- friends of the ones who helped put us in our current dilemma -- while we are being told day after day that we are a poor and backward city.  No more of this torture!

We need to amass $1 million dollars so we can run ads about "right to work," about how banks are destroying our neighborhoods, about EM's being put over bankrupt cities who are paid 3 and 4 times what elected officials earn, and how the plan is to sell-off our city assets to their families and friends at our expense.
-- What happened to democracy?
-- What happened to union workers who seem to have lost their voices and their courage?
-- What happened to our right to vote? 
-- What happened to our once progressive, militant churches who too often today stand in silence?
-- What happened to our standard of living and our right to look forward to better lives for our children?
Let's pull together, raise the money we need to mount state-wide campaigns, and let's inflict political casualties on their side instead of working people who are always suffering. We may not have Koch brothers money, but we for damned sure have millions of "boots on the ground" from which we can mount a non-violent offensive in Michigan from top to bottom, and from left to right! 

"I went down to the rich-man's take back what he stole from me..."  Stay tuned for plans of action...

"At some point, silence suggests complicity."
Maureen D. Taylor, 
State Chairperson, MWRO 

Monday, December 16, 2013

New MWRO T-shirts!

Maureen Taylor, MWRO State Chair, models the new, hot MWRO t-shirt!
MWRO T-SHIRTS are hot off the press!! Only $15 -- in four colors and various sizes. Be one of the first people to proudly wear one! They'll be on sale tomorrow (Dec. 17) at the MWRO Holiday Party (1-3pm) at our office inside Central United Methodist Church, 23. E. Adams St, Detroit, MI 48226.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

PPEHRC Proposes "People-Peace-Planet” Budget to Congress

We're proud of our sister organization, Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), that recently went to Washington, DC on December 10 -- International Human Rights Day -- to present a "People-Peace-Planet” budget to members of Congress.

"In a press conference in the Cannon Office Building, speakers called on the Congressional Budgetary Committee to pass a budget resolution that re-directs military spending to domestic needs that serve “people, peace and the planet.” They then presented their proposed budget and supporting petitions to staffers of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Co-Chair of the Budgetary Committee." Read the full story at Social Justice Groups Demand Congress Slash Military Budget, Spend Money on People, Peace, Planet.

Image from DC Media Group

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Political Retreat for Visionaries

This is a Call to All Visionaries and Progressive Organizations in southeast Michigan:

MWRO invites you to a
Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wayne County Community College

Northwest Campus, Detroit.
in the Student Lounge
8200 West Outer Drive
(corner of Southfield Rd, free parking)

The strategic focus we are striving for is to reach consensus with discipline, and create a space for action plans to emerge.

Bring $5 for meals. RSVP to (313) 964-0618

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fighting for "Housing Is a Human Right"

It's Winter again and every year we know temperatures are going to go below the freezing point. If you're homeless or living in poverty, there's no way to escape the cold and protect yourself from the pain of freezing wind on your skin without shelter.

Yet, across the country, thousands of cities and municipalities are tearing down thousands of low-income affordable housing units (aka public housing) in favor of mixed income housing. The problem is if you have no income or chance of a living wage job (like thousands of people in Detroit),  and you've been drastically time-limited off of public assistance (like Gov. Snyder has done to thousands of families across Michigan), what are your housing options?

These are questions MWRO and the Housing is a Human Rights Coalition discuss on a daily basis. You ask, but aren't there places where low income people (under 62 years old) can get housing assistance and take shelter?
Detroit shelter
Detroit Shelter. Photo courtesy:
  • Forget the homeless shelters, they're full and oftentimes not safe spaces for children.
  • Forget Section 8, the wait list (if you can get on one) is 2-4 years long.
  • Forget HUD public housing projects, thousands of units are torn down annually and those that get saved are converted to senior housing apartments.
  • Forget privately managed apartment buildings, they require credit checks, large deposits, first and last month rents, steady income, silent children and babies -- oh, yeah...and a pint of blood.
In fact, more people are being displaced from Detroit affordable housing as we post this:  Developers, HUD, Non-Profits Collude To Move Detroit Seniors, Disabled Out Of Downtown Griswold Apts.

In Detroit and across the state of Michigan millions of dollars in federal housing assistance aid come through (like the Step Forward Program) to help families prevent foreclosure and to keep homeless shelters running. These are surely needed funds.

But what we also need are programs and policies to rebuild good housing stock in Detroit -- not tear it down -- specifically for LOW INCOME families. At this time there are no public officials, private developers, non-profit organizations or housing authorities addressing this critical need.

MWRO and HHRC are working with local residents and officials to educate the community on this dire situation and build solutions. We invite you to learn more about this on the HHRC website.

To sign up for our next set of housing workshops, call MWRO at (313) 964-0618.