In 1996, President Clinton embraced a proposal to “End Welfare as we know it” which the National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU) dubbed “Welfare Deform.” This historic proposal was to take Welfare from a Federal program to make one where each state determined its own rules and in how draconian a fashion it would treat its poorest families with children. NWRU had forged a strong partnership with National Organization for Women leadership, which resulted in Michele being invited by NOW President Patricia Ireland as NOW’s partner to meet with Vernon Jordan in company with those women’s group representatives deemed important to bridge strong relationships with by the Clinton Administration.
I and Michele are founding members of the National Welfare Rights Union board and have been in the forefront of the fight to secure just treatment and income levels that enable families on welfare to “thrive, and not just survive.” As delegate, I will work with local advocates to support raising basic benefits for the first time in 20 years for DC families on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), which replaced AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children), more commonly known as welfare. In Congress, I will seek to ensure that families receiving TANF will be able to have their educational efforts count as work, to better enable them to move off the program, with its lifetime limitations for support.
When Dick Gregory heard about the nightly vigils at Peace Park (Lafayette Park, across from the White House) that entire week, he came down to join the protestors stating, “this is the most important expression of solidarity that I have heard about on this critical issue!”