KWRUKensington Welfare Rights Union
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With so many troubles and so few answers, people took note when KWRU rolled into town spreading the word that the United Nations itself has proclaimed that America's treatment of the poor violates basic principles of human dignity.
So, with the help of advocacy groups who hosted the riders at each stop, KWRU staged mock human rights trials during the tour, culminating in a tribunal at the UN Church Center in New York City.
KWRU member Mariluz Gonzalez says she regularly gets cursed at when she speaks out about her experiences on welfare.
Accused by the Philadelphia Inquirer of "homeless hype" and effectively blacked out by the daily papers, KWRU is perpetually caught between trying to create media happenings to make poverty visible and insuring that the people who hook up with the group at welfare offices and rallies stay committed.
More than a few members were already familiar with KWRU from the local TV news before they ever met one of its volunteer organizers.
KWRU, which has no salaried staff, is governed by a "War Council" of eight to ten elected members.
Through membership in the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, KWRU is affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
KWRU is also a member of the Labor Party, and though it stands to gain little politically from the feeble group, that alliance too gives the union the ears of workers whose own vulnerability makes them potentially committed supporters.
KWRU isn't the only organization working to call attention to the hypocrisy of the US government's denunciation of other countries for human rights abuses while it perpetrates its own here at home.
With its use of human rights as a grassroots organizing tactic, KWRU aims to build an organization that attends to both the political and material needs of poor people.