Articles and Essays, Works in Progress

WELFARE REFORM WELFARE REHARM

Proponents of welfare reform in NPR’s “20 Years Since Welfare’s Overhaul, Results Are Mixed” missed some recent history through their nostalgic rose-colored glasses, and so did the reporting itself:
Clinton welfare reform penalized people including my family for not landing and attending 5 job interviews a day. The single parent who could not achieve this impossible feat had their share of welfare and food stamps and medicaid taken away. It was horrible. The caregivers struggling the most were punished for feeding themselves by taking away their food and necessities. No child care was provided when Clinton welfare reform was first put into place, for years. Single parents, mostly single mothers, were forced under threat of being thrown in jail to attend classes in “job training” that consisted of degrading them. These training classes and skills tests and meetings did not take into account the education of the person or the person’s and family’s particular life situation.
There was no welfare-to-work act. The jobs available to even a college-educated welfare recipient single mother at the time paid $4.25 per hour. Especially with no or little help to transition to working, a parent was “better” off on welfare than working; that is, a single mother did the math and made the right choice to feed her kids.
As soon as a person was working, she would lose low-income subsidized housing. So she also made the choice to keep a roof over her family’s head.
She would also lose any community assistance for people on welfare if there was any.
If you didn’t report some income or help received, you’d be legally punished. So trying to relieve the situation even a little was impossible under the threat of jail.
In the early and mid-90s, single mothers raising a family without a husband were still very much looked down upon and actively condescended to culturally and specifically, by shop owners and managers, by police officers, and especially by the social workers and department of human service officials whose job was to work with and “help” their families.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with; she and children were pro-actively punished and criminalized multi-fold for the agencies’ and programs’ failure to realistically respond or interact with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
On top of that, DHS investigated a parent whose kids complained of hunger or whose kids were very stressed or whose kids did not have a father because she protected them from witnessing and experiencing (more) domestic abuse. She did this alone often without the support and help of police she might have called in incidents, but rather their blame on her. Then she was criminalized for protecting them and for the failings of welfare reform, police, courts, human services to understand or care what she and the children were forced to deal with. These agencies and programs of the law punished her and the family multi-fold in lieu of realistically responding or interacting with realistic consideration or respectfully in the first place.
This is how I grew up. Through this, despite this, my mother raised her family.

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Articles and Essays

Body slam by NYPD visible by body shaming naked statue

In the pics of the naked Trump statue in Union Square, NYC, you can see behind it the spot where I was beat up, sprayed in the eyes from 4 to 6 inches away, then also bent over, slamming me and smashing with my knees into jutting rocks while lodged up under several inches of a cement slab, the seat of the semi-circular bench behind the bronze  statue of the first mounted military American hero and president (George Washington), by 4 NYPD officers, all at least 150% of my weight and moreso of my strength, for sitting writing poetry in the park and despite my compliance and encouragement of compliance.
I limped for the following month, during the Towers falling and for several weeks after, when I stayed in the Square practically 24/7 because the trains uptown were cancelled, and helped create the Union Square Towers vigil and memorial walls along the fences. We set up donation boxes, and I limped to the corner stores that had managed to stay open or and soon as they were open again to buy candles and poster board, limped with one of the NYU students to the dorm for butcher paper to hang up and markers and tape for people to  post missing person signs.
The officers were part of a strange sudden increase in presence of officers and military personnel & the latter performing drills. This happened 5 days before the Towers fell.
I don’t know if the bench is still there, but my knee and shin deformation and pain is nearly daily.
And I still have a war-rant because I could not return to court after having no choice but to leave the City a couple of months after the Towers fell.  I tried to call in to court, sitting on hold. Many companies including national temp agencies will not hire me today because of it. I’ve never been able to pay my mother back for the long-distance charges those calls racked up.
If someone hands me a soda or beer while watching election season debates, I will press it gently on my right knee until it’s no longer cold instead of opening it.
#nakedTrump #Trumpstatue #policebrutality #doyougetityet #Drumpf #bigotry #NYPD #911 #TwinTowers #Iwasthere #TheEmporerHasNoBalls #Election2016 #bodyshaming #fatshaming #proudbody #chronicpain
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer on qz.com
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