Arise for Social Justice – Fall, 2012
HOMELESS OR ABOUT TO BE HOMELESS?
New rules are going to make it very hard for homeless families to get shelter!
Talk to us! Call Arise for Social Justice, Springfield’s poor people’s rights organization,
467 State St., 734-4948
We know it can be hard to care about social justice for all when you’re worrying about yourself! But if there’s one thing we at Arise have learned through the years is that “If we don’t hang together, we’ll hang alone!” A lot of service providers don’t get this, either—they’re great at helping people one at a time, but don’t work to change the underlying causes. There will ALWAYS be more people coming through the doors of service providers unless we can achieve social justice for all of us.
Don’t give up! Work to get what you need for yourself AND work to change what makes you need the help in the first place! Call Arise at 734-4948 or visit us at 467 State St.
Let’s take whimsical trip to the Lighthouse. Here you can explore your possibilities of building a secure future. At the Lighthouse, you will discover that there are many opportunities that will enhance your growth in making career decisions. The Lighthouse is an establishment constructed for those of us who need assistance with rehabilitating occupational, educational and life skills. It consist of well- trained outreach workers and up to date computer technology. They are the major tools that you will need to expand your growth for security. They are the sources that will get you connected to a perspectively broader community of people, organizations and corporations. The Lighthouse sustains a healthy technique in helping you to reach your goals. While on tour at the Lighthouse, you will notice that one of the first things you do is, sit with a selected outreach worker and devise a goal plan. This insures you of the fact that your journey within the boundaries of the Lighthouse will be an eventful process. If you are willing and determined in immediately fulfilling your commitment, activity plan can start the same day. In implying this decision, you actually begin to take control of your life. It is where you will begin to take flight to another level of maturity. By taking control, you signify that you are ready for all the adequate accommodations that the Lighthouse has to offer.
The Lighthouse itself is divided into separate units. They are required to keep you occupied with constructing a solid foundation for career oriented goals. These units somewhat pave the way for growth status. During evaluation and orientation with the workers, it is determined the level of degree you maintain. Depending on determination, you are placed in the unit best situated for your status. This is where your growth process begins. By finding your situated level, you have accomplished your knowledge of maturity height. This gives you the opportunity to accept where you are and to find a ways and means to upgrade your status. The units are also designed to help you stay focused on yourself and what we are doing to support your plan. In the case that you might need extensive job training or job readiness or mental rehabilitation, the workers at the Lighthouse can refer you to an appropriate organization(s). They are affiliated with the Lighthouse and assist with the same effort and cause.
The staff and members at the Lighthouse provide you with faith assurety that you will be successful in your aggressions towards reaching your goals. As a potential community of reconstructive people, everyone works together to help each other with their endeavors. They put forth a team effort in fulfilling a sense of value. It will help you recognize your morals and priorities. In this way of working among others, it will endorse a sense of stability in the working environment and form a strength of compassion for others. This detail prepares you to be an acceptable, sociable, productive member of an ordinary society. Staff and members instill, yet, confirm that in understanding and getting to know yourself (primarily), that you can be accessible to any environment. Your involvement at the Lighthouse perspectively, restores the aspect of your soul.
As a member of the Lighthouse, I have found it enlightening to perform my duties on a positively functional basis. I have adjusted to the normalities of doing constructive tactics, on a daily basis. My goals are set for independent employment. By participating at the Lighthouse on a daily basis, I have discovered who I am and am appreciative of the help being offered. Staff and members show gratitude by helping others and successfully accomplishing whatever goal they may have made. There are many people who have attended the Lighthouse and became successful members of society. YOU TOO can be a success. So if you want take a trip to the Lighthouse and discover yourself, call us. We are located at 1401 State Street in Springfield, Mass. Call (413) 736-8974. Ask for intake and they will be glad to assist you.
By Tammy Early
For those on the outside looking in on my white picketed fence town I would like to share with you my story and by the end hopefully you will see that not everything is peachy keen in the town of Wilbraham. Families fight, children are bullied, teens are drinking, sexual harassment is occurring, rape has occurred and gangs have made an appearance. Are all these things happening at the same time and in the same neighborhood? No they are not but when and where they are happening is not important. What is important is that it is happening and it should not be ignored. Of course every resident wants to keep their town a safe place for their families and maintain a friendly environment but you cannot and should not do so by being hush-hush or putting a Band-Aid over undesirable occurrences within the town.
I graduated from Minnechaug Regional High School on June 1, 2012 and the event had me very nervous because I was wondering if people were able to see my sundress through my white gown on stage or if I was going to trip on my way off stage. Not once was I reminiscing about my moments in high school until I was sitting down in my seat listening to the speech that my class President delivered. He reminded me of the good times we shared as a class but as I looked around taking one last look at the faces that belonged to my former classmates I was reminded of the bad times that we shared.
I was very active within my high school’s Gay Straight Alliance club and that made me a target for bullying in my neighborhood. I knew when I started my activism for the LGBTQ community that some people are not accepting and can be cruel to LGBTQ people but for that reason exactly is why I started my fight against Homophobia. So I can eliminate or decrease the amount of hate within America to make more room for acceptance.
Recently within a few months I was faced with a homophobic bully and this bully wasn’t going to school with me but was with my younger sister and we all shared the same bus stop as well as lived in the same neighborhood of Wilbraham. For a couple of weeks this bully constantly called me a faggot and no she did not mean a pile of sticks. She didn’t directly call me a faggot to my face but whenever she saw me around she would openly yell it then laugh with her friends. One day my little sister and were walking to the bus stop together and when we got there we talked amongst ourselves. Within a few minutes the girl who had been yelling out Homophobic slurs approached me from behind and I knew she was coming because my sister saw her. I turned to face her because I knew she wanted to say something to me but I had no clue what she was going to say. She started yelling in my face; “You wanna fight me? I know you wanna fight me?” I was shocked because I had no idea why she thought I wanted to fight her; I wanted her to stop with the homophobic slurs. She started to take off her earrings and roll up her sleeves.
Tears began to fill my eyes and for each tear of mine that fell represented each victim of Homophobic bullying. My bus approached and my good friend who I have known since middle school caught a glimpse of the situation and she ran off the bus to my aid, she tried to get me to come on the bus with her but I told her that I needed to go home so she walked back to the bus and on her way there she said something to the bully but I couldn’t make out what she had said. My little sister walked me home with a reassuring arm around my shoulder probably because she remembered what my mom said to us earlier that morning, our mom told us; “If anything happens come right home.” When we got home my little sister explained to our mom what had happened. After that my mom took the appropriate steps as a parent and fought hard to make sure the girl who bullied me didn’t get away with it. As far as I know the girl was never punished for what she put me through.
This story that I told you is very true and it is one of my own but there are many others who have yet to share theirs. We all have a story but some of us choose not to share perhaps it’s because there is fear of opening old wounds or that no one will believe what they hear. When you graduate high school you begin to discover more about yourself as you try to move up in a society that will repeatedly try to knock you down.
Do you have a criminal record? Want to know how the new CORI law affects jobs and housing & how to request and seal your CORI?
COME ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 5:30 AND GET YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
CONVICTED FELON? YOU STILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE!
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Too much abuse by the police?
No drug treatment on demand?
Too much violence?
LET’S GET VOCAL ABOUT IT!!
(Voicing Our Community Awareness Level)
Get involved in a new community committee at Arise.
We are coming together to learn about the things going on in our relationships, families, our neighborhoods, our city. For now we are listening to each other, supporting each other and then, together, we will figure out how to take aim at the systems that are keeping us down and out.
Arise for Social Justice, 467 State St.,
DO YOU NEED TO DO COMMUNITY SERVICE? FOR THE COURTS, SNAP OR TAFDC? YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME AT ARISE!
CALL RUBEN, LIZ, ELLEN OR MICHAELANN AT 734-4948 FOR MORE DETAILS.
Western Massachusetts Stand-Down 2012
Friday, September 28, 8:30 am – 2 pm.
Greek Cultural Center, 6 Plainfield St., Springfield
FREE: Breakfast 7:00am – 8:30am
FREE: Lunch 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Meet directly with VETERAN officials and regional veteran service providers.
Get immediate services, information and assistance with:
VA Benefits, VA Medical, RMV, Housing, Social Security, Legal, Mental Health,
Health Screenings, Haircuts, Clothing, Insurance, Food and much more…
To learn more call: Western Mass Bilingual Veteran’s Outreach Center:
413-731-0194 #0 413-883-4508 (cell)
from the Vietnam Era
living day to day
within his own terror.
Poisoned by the reins
of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
cast such an illusion.
Strobes of negativity
left obvious traces of confusion.
from the realm of society.
He clearly had issues
distinguishing from reality.
A homeless man is seen
pushing his stolen grocery cart.
Traveling down the ragged
potholed riddled streets.
He appeared degraded
by his mere survival techinques.
Panhandling and collecting
unwanted aluminum cans.
That was his only gain
No matter the sadness displayed
a helping hand.
When they have fallen
upon bended knees.
Such a disruption
ONCE A YEAR….POOR FAMILIES WHO EARN JUST A BIT TOO MUCH TO GET TAFDC BECOME ELIGIBLE TO TAFDC AND CAN GET THE CLOTHING ALLOWANCE!
Who Is Eligible to Receive the Clothing Allowance?
Families can receive a clothing allowance for each child currently receiving TAFDC benefits or eligible to receive benefits.
Ineligible children include children who are:
- Age 19 and older;
- Subject to the family cap rule;
- Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and/or
- Are undocumented immigrants.
TAFDC Income Eligibility Limit Increase:
Benefits Extended to Some Working Families Not Receiving TAFDC
The TAFDC income eligibility limits will increase for September; the amount of the increase depends on the number of applicants or recipients under age 19 in the household. (The eligibility standard will be increased by $277.50 for each eligible applicant or recipient under age 19.)
This means that many low-income working families that normally are income-ineligible for TAFDC benefits will become eligible for the clothing allowance. Although these families will not receive cash benefits, they may be able to receive one year of MassHealth benefits and subsidized child care, in addition to the clothing allowance.
Clothing Allowance Benefit Amount
Families will receive $150/child if they are participating in the TAFDC program as of September 1st or if they apply by September 1st and are approved later; families that receive TAFDC for only part of September will receive a prorated clothing allowance.
Please note: The clothing allowance benefit is considered income under Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, a.k.a. Food Stamp) rules. As with other increases in income, the receipt of the clothing allowance can lead to a temporary decrease in SNAP benefits for some families.
For more information, please contact your local DTA office.
For more information, please contact DTA or Kelly Turley at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless: 781-595-7570 x17 or email@example.com.
The United States has a long history of using mean-spirited and often brutal laws to keep “certain” people out of public spaces and out of public consciousness. Jim Crow laws segregated the South after the Civil War and Sundown Towns prohibited people from spending the night and required them to keep on moving through. The anti-Okie law of 1930s California forbade poor Dustbowl immigrants from entering the state and Ugly Laws (on the books in Chicago until the 1970s) swept the country and criminalized people with disabilities for allowing themselves to be seen in public.
Today, such laws target mostly homeless people and are commonly called “quality of life” or “nuisance crimes.” They criminalize sleeping, sitting, loitering, panhandling and even food-sharing. Just like the laws from our past, they deny people their right to exist in local communities.
In June of this year, Rhode Island took a meaningful stand against this criminalization, and passed the first statewide Homeless Bill of Rights in the country. The Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP)—a West Coast grassroots network of homeless people’s organizations—is now launching simultaneous campaigns in California and Oregon. Rhode Island will only be the beginning.
We are building a movement to reclaim our communities for all members: not just those who set the rents. In order to build this movement and assert our human rights, we must make clear the myriad ways in which our community members are treated as though they are less than human.
Today’s laws have their roots in the broken-windows theory. This theory holds that one poor person in a neighborhood is like a first unrepaired broken window and if the “window” is not immediately fixed or removed, it is a signal that no one cares, disorder will flourish, and the community will go to hell in a handbasket.
For this theory to make sense, you first have to step away from thinking of people, or at least poor people, as human beings. You need to objectify them. You need to see them as dusty broken windows in a vacant building. That is why we now have Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) with police enforcement to keep that neighborhood flourishing by keeping poor, unsightly people out of it.
We have gone from the days where people could be told "you can't sit at this lunch counter" to "you can't sit on this sidewalk," from "don't let the sun set on you here" to "this public park closes at dusk" and from "you're on the wrong side of the tracks" to "it is illegal to hang out" on this street or corner.
1982 marked the beginning of homelessness as a "crime wave" that would consume the efforts of local and state police forces over the next three decades. Crime statistics show that across the country, millions were sitting, lying down, hanging out, and -- perhaps worst of all -- sleeping. WRAP and our allies recently conducted outreach to over 700 homeless people in 13 cities and found 77% of people had been arrested, cited, or harassed for sleeping, 75% for loitering, and 73% for sitting on a sidewalk.
We are right back to Jim Crow Laws, Sundown Towns, Ugly Laws and Anti-Okie Laws, local laws that profess to "uphold the locally accepted obligations of civility." Such laws have always been used by people in power against those on the outside. In other words, today's Business Improvement Districts and Broken Window Laws are, at their core, a reincarnation of various phases of American history none of us is proud of.
This is not about caring for or even advocating for “those people.” This is about all of us. As Aboriginal leader Lilla Watson said, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” If you are not homeless, if you are not the target now, then understand that you are next. Isolated and fragmented, we lose this fight. But we are no longer isolated.
The rise of repression in the United States is a war against all of us. We need all of us to act in this struggle for dignity, fairness and human rights. The people who pay for and profit from the criminalization of homeless people are the same people who benefit from our nations’ refusal to meet basic human needs. They are using these laws to do what invading armies do: they attack us at our most vulnerable flanks – the communities of poor and homeless people who have been subjected to shame and blame for decades. We are continuing to expand our network of organizations and cities and we will ultimately bring down the whole oppressive system of policing poverty and treating poor people as “broken windows” to be discarded and replaced.
To join our campaign for a Homeless Bill of Rights in both California and Oregon contact WRAP at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will hook you up with organizers working in both of these states or others as this movement continues to grow.