Partners in the Pursuit of Economic and Social Justice
Community Homeless Alliance Ministry
Since 1990, San Jose’s Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM) has been bringing together social justice activists, the homeless, students, and faith communities in order to challenge poverty and homelessness in the Silicon Valley. With a mission that encourages people to battle poverty, consumerism, separation, addiction, anxiety, and despair, CHAM has fought to house the homeless, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and empower all to become leaders. CHAM and WEAP have allied together for almost a decade, building up the California Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (CA PPEHRC) in the process. Whether it is through prayer, their winter homeless shelter program, marches, protests, or community rallies, CHAM has been at the forefront of demanding affordable housing and the right to live with dignity for all people.
St. Mary’s Center
St. Mary’s Center in Oakland has a history of serving the needs of local families that dates back over 100 years. Today, St. Mary’s provides services for low-income seniors, families, and preschoolers in West Oakland including running a preschool, providing free meals and health screenings, housing assistance, winter shelter, drug recovery program, and much more. For almost two decades, WEAP and St. Mary’s have allied together in the movement to end poverty, and more recently, as partners in the California Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (CA PPEHRC). St. Mary’s senior program “Advocates for Hope & Justice” has played a primary role in educating and informing seniors and the greater community about social action and policy to end poverty and to secure economic human rights for all.
Standing to Represent Our Next Generation
STRONG (Standing To Represent Our Next Generation) is an up and coming organization comprised largely of youth and students from all backgrounds who are dedicated to increasing the participation of youth in American politics as well as represent their issues. Some of the issues strongly impacting young people that STRONG emphasizes include the growing national debt, social security, the war in Iraq/war on terror, global warming, education, rising tuitions costs, and health care. In recent times, STRONG has become affiliates of the California Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (CA PPEHRC) and partnered with WEAP in the “Health Care is a Human Right Campaign” through WEAP’s 2008 Truth Commission, teach-ins, trainings, marches and other community events.
The National Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
“The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is committed to uniting the poor across color lines as the leadership base for a broad movement to abolish poverty. We work to accomplish this through advancing economic human rights as named in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as the rights to food, housing, health, education, communication and a living wage job.” Visit the National Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign in order to read more about their mission, vision, and work!
California Nurses Association (CNA)
Find out what the California Nurses Association, the largest and fastest-growing organization of Registered Nurses, is all about. For more than 100 years they have constantly struggled for a high standard of health care, one that promotes healthy families and humane workplaces, for both patients and health care workers. In addition to being at the forefront of passing safe RN to patient ratio legislation and for premier collective-bargaining contracts, today they are also a leading national advocate for universal health care reform and support a single payer style system. Since 1996, WEAP and CNA have partnered together in their work towards uniting professional caregivers, public hospital employees, low-wage workers, seniors, the disabled, people in recovery, youth, women, and poor people under the vision of proper health care for all. A few examples of the economic human rights work accomplished jointly by WEAP and CNA include a 1998 economic human rights tribunal, a 1999 5-day Oakland March and many more Bay Area marches, the 2000 Freedom Bus Tour that traveled 3,000 miles across California, the 2002 Save the Soul of America March and Bus Tour, a town hall meeting in 2004, Just Health Care trainings and teach-ins, national PPEHRC events, and Oakland’s 2006 Citizens’ Hearing and Truth Commission on the Health Care crisis.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has a history that dates back to 1921 and is the fastest growing union in North America. Today, SEIU stands as the largest health care union, the largest property services union, and the second largest public services union. It is also one of the most diverse unions with 56% women, 40% people of color, and represents more immigrants than any other union in the nation. Currently, SEIU is working towards uniting health care workers across the nation in order to urge our elected leaders to fix our broken health care system. WEAP has a long history of working with local SEIU unions in demanding real solutions to the health care crisis. In fact, SEIU members played an integral part in founding WEAP back in 1982. Examples of recent events that WEAP and SEIU unions have collaborated on include a 2004 Golden Gate Bridge walk in the name of health care for all, the 2005 Martin Luther King Speak-Out and Teach-In, multiple Just Health Care trainings and community health forums, and Oakland’s 2006 Citizens’ Hearing and Truth Commission on the Health Care Crisis. Check out SEIU Local 1021 in order to find out more about Oakland’s own SEIU branch and how to make your voice stronger by uniting with those already involved!
To learn more about an international union whose top priority is organizing the unorganized, visit UNITE HERE. While trying to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits, UNITE (the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) is also dedicated to diversity, comprised largely of immigrants plus high percentages of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American workers. The majority of members are also women. Between active members and retired members, UNITE HERE includes close to one million members total and is known for its impressive grassroots mobilization of workers and community allies for issues such as affordable health care, a livable wage, and a voice for workers about their own working conditions.
If you are having trouble or know someone having trouble with Medicare, especially after the passing of Medicare Part D, visit the Medicare Rights Center. Founded in 1989, the Medicare Rights Center is the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare, helping older adults and people with disabilities get the quality, affordable health care they deserve. This is a great source providing the basic information you need to understand Medicare and the choices it makes available.
Find out what local youth who share a similar vision with WEAP are up to by checking out the Center for Media Justice. Since 2001, the Center for Media Justice has worked towards defending the communication rights of youth, communities of color, and organizing groups who work for racial and economic justice. In order to counter corporate control of hip hop, racial stereotypes, and anti-youth bias in the news, the Center for Media Justice has been dedicated to building a collaborative movement for justice by strengthening media strategy, capacity, and action in California and beyond.
If all of these organizations seem overwhelming, or if you can’t wait to take action now, check out WEAP’s first ever “Health Care is an Economic Human Right” Toolkit. This easy to use toolkit includes the comprehensive tools you need to educate yourself about health care as an economic human right and/or spread it to other people, groups, and organizations.