Who is POOR - An Open Statement of Facts from a Landless Peoples Movement in Amerikkka in 2015
Who We Are
We are Po’ folks from all four corners of Mama Earth: African, Guatemalteco, Mayan,, Purapecha, Mexica/Mexican Filipino. Puerto Rican, Taino, Apache, Lakota,, Tongan, Samoan, Hawaiian, Ohlone, Japanese, Chinese, Irish, Roma and many more. We are elders, disabled, children, mamaz, daddy,z aunties, uncles, abuelas, abuelos, daughters and suns. We are queer, straight, gender neutral and trans. We are artists, poets, revolutionaries, and survivors.
What We do?
PNN-TV, PNN On-line magazine
POOR Press/Prensa POBRE
Street Newsroom on Deep East TV /Community Newsroom
Voces De inmigrantes en Resistencia
Indigenous Peoples Media Project
Krip Hop Nation Channel on POOR
Youth in Media
PeopleSkoo for folks with race, class or formal education privilege
PeopleSkool for Poverty Skolaz
Family Project- Decolonizing Education for children and families in poverty - (the roots of Decolonize Academy)
Decolonize Academy (Launched with two other organizations)
Po Poets, welfareQUEENs,
GentriFUation Tours R US,
Uncle Al Robles Living Library
Not Silent Art Auction,
Theatre of the POOR,
Revolutionary Healing/ Health work-
HEALZ- Healing from Addictions thru Art, Education and Liberation group
Healing the Neighbor-HOOD - once a year to celebrate Inter-Dependence Day Multi-nationed Ceremonies from Indigenous Peoples, African Peoples, and ALL four Corners
Poor Peoples Free Farm Stand-Organic , Free, produce for all community
Poor peoples community Clinic- (eventually on the land at Hopefulness)
Landless Peoples Liberation-
Homefulness- a poor people-led solution to Homelessness-
MamaHouse- a poor mama -led home for poor single parents with children-
Pachamama/Madre Tierra/Mama Earth Garden- a poor people-led garden on the land at Homefulness which is open to all community who want/need food- at any time- (eventually will launch Po’ Peoples Farmers Market)
Poor People-led Revolutionary Advocacy:
Revolutionary Social Work- Whatever folks need - By Any Means Necessary
Sliding Scale Cafe Harm reduction Hot Dogs and street based advocacy
Revolutionary Legal Advocacy Project (ReLap)- Jailhouse lawyers outside of jail without a degree- providing legal advice from poverty skola to poverty skola
Homefulness Values we Walk and Talk
First and foremost we identify as a landless peoples movement in these stolen indigenous lands known as the United Snakes of AMerikkka-. We pay respectful homage to landless peoples movements across Mama Earth, such as MOVE 9, MST, Zapatistas in Chiapas, and the ShackDwellers Union in South Africa.
We “bought" back this small piece of land at 8032 BlackArthur in hope of being stewards; we seek to care for and protect this small part of Mama Earth we have been blessed to embrace and to change the roots of gentrification. When we got here in Deep East Ohlone Land on blackArthur we immediately re-distributed stolen and hoarded wealth back to the intentionally blighted beautiful BlackArthur neighborhood by sharing healthy food and making street based media every thursday. We asked permission and guidance from 1st nations peoples of this land before we proceeded and brought ceremony from all four corners. As soon as we raised a little more blood-stained dollar we built phase 1 with our hands and were called crack - hoes by colonized landlords who only understood colonized building and devil-opment.
We launched Mama Earth garden which as a poor people-led and run garden belongs to no-One but actually Every-one. We housed two families (the families of two of the Decolonize Academy ’s teachers) one was tiny’s family who was living in serious substandard, post-houseless, mold-filled housing which caused them to be hospitalized and another low-income single parent family with no Blood-stained dollar coming from the single parent family. We launched a school for low-income, houseless and working poor children from all across the bay.
At the same time we continued to re-distribute thousands of dollars of reparations caring for our families and elders who were being gentriFUKed and displaced out of different parts of the Bay Area by offering a stipend to all participants in need
It is our goal with Homefulness to become completely self-sustaining//off-grid within the next ten years so we can move off the oppression of blood-stained, colonizer-born ekkkonomies and help other poor people-led /indigenous peoples-led movements launch equity campaigns as a model for community reparations and revolutionary self-determination.
Decision-Making at POOR and Homefulness
Revolutionary Building Circle
Family Elders of Elephant Council
We reject the poverty industry corporate Non-profit model which profits off the backs and stories and lives and problems of poor people.We do, however, use the 501(c) 3 non-profit paper and the roles of Board and Executive Directors as a tool of legitimacy because otherwise if POOR folks ask for money we are called bums, riffraff and hustlers. Although we see it as a matter of necessity that we use the 501c 3 as a mere tool to operate within the colorized , blood-stained dollar hoarding banking economy, we make all POOR Magazine decisions in circles.
There are a several different circles depending on the issue.
Community Building Circle (Open to ALL)
For issues regarding the building of Homefulness, we launched the Revolutionary Building Circle which attempts to break down the hierarchal position of unfairly academikly /institutionally trained builders, designers versus indigenous builders who have been building and designing and architecting for centuries as well as the VERY male dominated, One Boss style of contracting and building that intentionally enables slave-/master roles to be reproduced in the building trades. This is Very hard to do but it is how we have built Phase 1-
Community Newsroom-Indigenous News-making Circle (Open to ALL)
No-one owns our media- but POOR peoples decided together what our media is. This is accomplished in monthly and weekly circle of poor peoples who refuse to be lied about and spoken for and spoken about but all have voices and demand to be heard. The Community Newsroom is where fellow poor, disabled, criminalized, migrants, indigenous peoples come in to propose stories and ask for media support from POOR or write /them themselves.
Inter-Generational Council at Homefulness (Open to ALL in community)
This is an open meeting to ALL community members to make core decisions and deal with problems on the sacred indigenous land we call Homefulness. This is an outgrowth of our Family Councils which are necessary so we don’t have to ever engage with the state to deal with issues that come up. All Commuity members have been invited to come into this meeting and we actively outreach to both community elders and POOR family elders and youth. We spend resources and ask for support in transporting peoples from all across the bay to ensure this meeting is a full discussion
Elephant Meetings-(Open to POOR Family who have gone to PeopleSkool or been in POOR family for over a year)
Elephants are matriarchal-led and their babies alone cannot survive in colonized captivity and each of them rely on family to survive and thrive. Because we at POOR are matriarchal led and cannot survive without our family members in this colonized captivity called amerikkka we bring the spirit of the elephants into our core decision making meeting. This meeting is open to all POOR family who has gone thru one semester of PeopleSkool different meetings that have always been open to all peoples. the first one is called Elephant Council Meetings and deal with problems and large decisions in Inter-generational councils at Homefulness.This is because we refuse to ever call the Po’Lice which is easy to say but a very hard thing to do cuz all us po peoples have issues and baggage and trauma and carry all of that on our broken backs.
Family Councils (Facilitated by Community Elders and involving the peoples involved in the problem)
Called in the most serious situations open to peoples involved in an egregious act against another POOR or Homefulness family member- This is a Community accountability circle that requires people involved to own their part in the problem and agree to ways to remedy the issues, If one of the people in the circle who was involved in the problem does not take ownership for their role in the problem, or follow the agreements decided on in the circle, they are respectfully asked to step away from POOR.
Family Elders-Open to elders from the community who support POOR and long-time POOR family who have been involved over 6 years. (this is analagous to our board) This meeting is only called twice a year or when we have the most complicated issues challenging our Manifesto for Change or Declaration of Independence
Blood-Stained dollaz/Money at POOR
As poor peoples we Make NO Bones about the fact that writing and journalism by poor peoples must be financially supported Poverty Scholarship is No Joke, and its one of the POWER-FUl things about poor peoples creating media for us and by us. This is why even though POOR is in fact Po’ we continue to collect reparations to support other poor peoples to write and produce media.
After Peoples with Race, Class or formal Education prrivilege go through our PeopleSkool session and learn our values we ask them to become Revolutionary Donors to POOR or other poor people-led movements. They are invited to be on our Solidarity family. Our Solidarity family has one role only, which they are very clear about; this is to organize other folks with race, class or formal education privilege to become Revolutionary Donors and to help us with access to the spaces and places we poor and indigenous peoples are intentionally kept out of. This is a very deep and powerful move of consciousness and requires a high level of decolonization. All of the Revolutionary Donors DO NOT just support POOR but rather provide an emergency reparations network to support other poor peoples in need. Reparations have supported Peoples Community Medics, Birth Justice Movements, Alex Nieto, Kenny Harding Jr Foundation, as well as assisting poverty skolars in struggle in paying everyday extortions like PG& E bills, in getting family members across false borders, in fronting for emergency healthcare costs.
This entire idea of Community Reparations and Revolutionary Donations comes from the POOR Declaration of Inter-Dependence, the Manifesto for Change, and the 10 point plan for Poor people-led, indigenous people-led movements, which we have openly shared with other poor people-led, African people-led movements.
Our money and administration is open for all to know. Everyone who is poor gets reimbursed for transportation expenses and writing. but no-one gets a salary. Most of us are volunteers who receive stipends for journalism or transportation and within 10 years we hope to move completely off-grid of blood-stained dollars, by producing our own food , housing each other and helping the community around us do the same
There is no-one leader at POOR but rather a circle process for all decisions, Mama Dee and Tiny started POOR with a circle of other poverty skolaz in 1996 and have continued this process. Fron the beginning, POOR has remained clear about the fact that the space for working with language and expression is a set up as a privilege for poor peoples who have been silenced for generations by the economic violence of colonization. POOR takes to heart the reality that communities must be supported with money, food, child care, rides and revolutionary advocacy for poor peoples to make media, so we provide stipends to writers and workers, and free transportation to our children (who come from all parts of the bay) to ensure that they are able to receive a revolutionary and transformative education.
We have no budget for administration so admin roles are done by volunteers or one of POOR family. Database and Bills are paid by whoever is volunteering that week. We are trying to raise money to pay an independent contractor to help us with admin because this is VERY hard and a lot of main stuff is not gettiing done right now, We have no credit card, We have an ATM card which is used by who ever has to buy building supplies or food or supplies. Our only source of monthly support is our monthly sustainers who send money each month for transportation or writing stipends. This is why we could not afford to keep the SF office because they raised the rent. Along with all the other insane work we did this year we moved 15 years of archive out of SF office and into a container on Homefulness, POOR’s official office is now the mini loft above Tiny, Tony and Tibu’s bedroom.
Our entire core budget at POOR is now approx $900. per month. Because we are trying to build Hopefulness our entire End of Year ask is focused on raising money to build phase 2 of Homefulness which includes the straw bale homes, The Sliding Scale Cafe and the other Four 1 br units of poor people housing. This means POOR Magazine is in fact Poor-er. In this last month with the launching of Decolonize Academy we ended up eating away at our saved blood-stained dollar to build the foundations of Hopefulness. This necessitated an emergency ask to our Solidarity Family, who eventually made a donation that enabled us to get thru the month of December.
Other fund-raising include our events, the monies raised from which are minimal - Mercado de Cambio and Healing the Hood, and our sessions of PEopelSkool where us Po folks teach folks with race and class oppresion how to become Revolutionary Donors and Community Reparators. The tuition from PEopleSkool enables us to provide full scholarships to poor peoples to attend PEopelSkool for poverty skolaz.