Claiming Our Economic Human Rights: History, Analysis, and Action
Social Welfare Action Alliance National Conference

June 28-July 1, 2001
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  Workshop Description.Doc

(Additional presenters, including University of the Poor representatives, will be added to workshops)

Workshop Sessions I – Friday, June 29, 11:00 – 12:30

A.      Globalization and human rights.  Perspectives on the dynamics of globalization, the ideologies that support them, and some ideas and actions that can sustain a global movement for economic human rights. 

*Jo Grey, National Anti-Poverty Organization (Canada)

*David Katz, School of Social Work, Michigan State University

*Cordelia Kirk, School of Social Work, Savannah State University


B.      Statistics for social control and social change.  Presentations of ways that data and measurements (such as the “poverty line”) are used to conceal and control people’s lives; how we can use statistics for social change. 

*Jim Myers, School of Social Work, California State University, Chico

*Sarah Frohock, Alternatives for Developing Change (A4DC)

*Pat Grugan, Department of Statistics and Research, University of the Poor

C.      Knowledge-building/movement-building.  The use of research tools, methods, and findings for organizing and action.

*Patricia Groves and Deborah Kessling, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Toledo

*Jennifer C. Jones, Education Committee, Kensington Welfare Rights Union

D.      Mentoring and peer counseling in a liberation framework.  Innovative mentor and peer counseling programs with youth and African American males.

*John Groce and Charles Harmon, Maturing Africans Learning from Each Other


*Michel Coconis, Workshop Moderator


E.       Social work and organizing in oppressed communities.  Reports on models emerging from social work participation in several liberation efforts.

*Bruce Hackworth, School of Social Work, Indiana University South Bend

*Russell Redner, Native American social work, San Francisco, CA

*David McKell, Workshop Moderator


F.       Economic justice in deaf communities.  Groups organized to claim their economic human rights present their analyses, visions, and tactics.

*Representatives from the Deaf & Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights

*Representatives from Creative Access

G.      Labor organizing today.  Presentations on workforce profiles, conditions, and issues in the globalized, post-welfare environment; strategies for organizing in this environment. 

*Todd Cherkis, School of Labor, University of the Poor

*Jaime Pfluecke, Labor Party Committee, Kensington Welfare Rights Union


Workshop Sessions II – Friday, June 29, 2:00-3:30


A.      Joining forces: Building community-academic alliances.  Community organizations and academic institutions working together to promote social change; illustrations of effective community-academic collaborations.

*Geza Hrazdina, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin

*Barbara Kasper, State University of New York, Brockport Underground Railroad (URR) Depot

*Melissa Sydor

*Representatives for the Rochester Poor People’s Coalition

*Marcia Cohen, Workshop Moderator

B.      Teaching about oppression and social and economic justice.  How social work programs have attempted to teach about oppression, justice and human rights, and an introduction to an international and community development program at Monmouth University      

*CarolAnn Daniel, School of Social Work, City University of New York, Brooklyn

*Paul Longo and Robin Mama, Department of Social Work, Monmouth University

C.      Family Economics 2001.   Perspectives on how welfare reform affects families, including discussions of a Self-Sufficiency Project, the socio-economic implications of single motherhood, and the right to wages for reproductive labor.

*Sheila Bennett, Women’s Association for Women’s Alternatives (WAWA)

*Susanna Jones, School of Social Work, Hunter College

D.      Organizing the poor across the rural-urban divide.   Strategies for building links among poor people living in rural and urban communities.

*Luther Brown and David Ellenbrook, Social Work Program, Castleton State College

*Representative from Women’s Economic Agenda Project (WEAP)

E.       University of the Poor:  Using media and the Internet to build the movement to end poverty.  The development of the University of the Poor and how it has helped to build a national and international movement to end poverty.

*Chris Caruso and Frank Sindaco, Human Rights Tech

*Representatives from the University of the Poor


F.       The drug war on the poor.  Exploring the connections among poverty in the United States and drug “producer” nations, the US-sponsored “drug war,” substance abuse among the poor; claiming the right to healthcare/treatment.

*Representatives from the Kensinton Welfare Rights Union Politics of Recovery Committee

*Representatives from New Jerusalem Laura

G.    Roles for social workers in the penal system.  Qualitative research results of interviews conducted with social workers working in the California penal system, and a presentation of the Prisoners and their Families Project in Newark, NJ.

*Paul Shane, Department of Social Work/Social Welfare, Rutgers University – Newark

*Risa Wallach, Lyon Martin Women’s Health Services (Lesbian-centered health clinic in San Fransisco, CA)

Workshop Sessions III – Saturday, June 30, 9:15-10:45


Feminism on the front lines.  Representatives from activist organizations present  different ways that women are organizing against poverty and welfare reform.

*Leah Wallace, Women of Change

*Representatives from the University of the Poor & the National Welfare Rights Union

A.      Organizing in the anti-globalization movement.  Assessment of several organizing models; strategies for increasing social action in community organizing.

*Bob Fisher, University of Houston; Eric Shragge, Concordia University; and Jeff

Ordower, Philadelphia ACORN

*Nacho Gonzalez, Organizers Learning Network, University of Illinois – Chicago

B.      Skills and discipline to lead and organize.  Leadership development in the movement to end poverty; the meaning and measure of discipline needed by organizers.

*Willie Baptist and Liz Theoharis, Education Committee, Kensington Welfare Rights Union

*William Epstein, School of Social Work, University of Las Vegas – Nevada

C.      The corporatization of the American judicial system.  Relationships among the corporatization of prisons, race and class discrimination, and economic human rights violations.

*Luther Brown; David Ellenbrook; and Diane Stokke, Social Work Program, Castleton State College

D.      Arts, culture, and economic justice.  The use of Hip-Hop Culture to address poverty; using arts and culture to mobilize people for the movement to end poverty.

*Richard Cooper, Widener University

*Representatives of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union Arts and Culture Committee

E.       Social work skills for a post-welfare reform society.  Social workers are calling on new skills for working in communities and engaging in “banditry” to promote economic justice.

*Gwenelle O’Neal, Graduate Department of Social Work, West Chester University

*Brett Seabury, School of Social Work, University of Michigan

G.    Economic justice in disabled communities.  Representatives from activist groups discuss their analysis and strategies for claiming their economic human rights

*Representatives from American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT)

*Representatives from Disabled in Action

Workshop Sessions IV – June 30, 11:00-12:30

A.      Organizing human rights activism in social work education.  Two concrete

examples of curriculum based projects engaging faculty and students in the global struggle for human rights. 

*Rosemary Barbera, Graduate School of Social Work, Bryn Mawr College

*Mary Bricker-Jenkins, School of Social Administration, Temple University;

*Carrie Young, Underground Railroad (URR) Temple Depot; and Temple University MSW students


B.      The economic oppression of youth.  Representatives from youth organizations discuss their strategies to address homelessness, substance abuse, and access to services and healthcare.

*Kate Holmes; Doug Allen; and Rick Koca, Stand Up for Kids

*Students from Loring Nicolet Alternative School

*Kids from Deaf & Deaf Blind Committee on Human Rights

*Youth Organizers of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union

*Meghan Radford, Workshop Moderator


C.      Social welfare from the Caribbean to Canada.  Exploration of the state of social welfare across the Americas, highlighting welfare issues in the Caribbean and Canada.

*Greg Acevedo, School of Social Administration, Temple University

*Jo Grey, Low Income Families Together (LIFT, Canada)

D.      Economic development:  Tools for justice?  The implications of free trade and capitalism for community-based economic development; special focus on “sustainable development” and micro enterprises.

*Craig Mosher, School of Social Work, University of Northern Iowa and Thomas Walz, School of Social Work, University of Iowa

*Arline Prigoff, Division of Social Work, California State University – Sacramento

E.       Economic justice in gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (glbt) communities.  Perspectives of economic issues affecting diverse glbt communities

      Representatives from diverse glbt advocacy and activist groups/organizations

*Michel Coconis, Workshop Moderator

F.       Religious strategies in the movement to end poverty.  Exploring implications of “Charitable Choice” and strategies for involving faith communities in ending, not managing, poverty.

*Cathlin Baker, The Employment Project, NYC

*Liz Theoharis, School of Theology, University of the Poor

*Representatives from Simple Way

*Dave McKell, Workshop Moderator


G.      Organizing against the death penalty.  A discussion of the race and class issues in the use of the death penalty; strategies for organizing to end the death penalty in the United States.

*Joanne Hessmiller, Pennsylvania Moratorium Against the Death Penalty Committee, Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty

Rev. Jeff Garis, Pennsylvania Abolitionists; William Nieves, 3rd person released from PA Death Row due to his innocence

Laura McTighe, Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty; Member of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation

Terry Rumsey, Pennsylvania Abolitionists Steering Committee


All-Conference Special Events


Thursday, June 28


The working groups of the Schools and Colleges of the University of the Poor will meet.  (The School for Social Workers will convene at 5PM for dinner.)

Friday, June 29    4-7PM


Kensington “reality tour” and community dinner.  Following an orientation by leaders of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, we will travel through the Kensington neighborhood, experiencing the KWRU “reality tour” of this de-industrialized, multi-ethnic area that captured national media attention during last summer’s Republican National Convention.  KWRU leaders will describe the organizing model that has made this area a major center of the growing movement to end poverty.  Dinner will be served – and shared – in the community.

Saturday, June 30    1-7PM (approximately)

The “New Freedom Bus” goes to Atlantic City.  Replicating the model used by KWRU to help build a national movement to end poverty, we will board a bus and head for Atlantic City.  There we will join the South New Jersey Citizen’s Committee – an organization of poor and homeless people, social and human service workers, and other allies – in their rally.  A “educational” on the bus will introduce the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and the history and mission of the New Jersey group (a member of the campaign).  We will also view the video, “Battle for Broad,” and discuss its use as an organizing and movement-building tool.  On the return trip we will debrief the action and explore ways to take the campaign to the next level, building a movement to end poverty in our home localities.

Sunday, July 1    9-12


Conference Reflection/Planning and Pledging.  Using experiential methods and discussion, we will reflect on the conference and plan the ways we will carry on the work of Claiming our Economic Human Rights.