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Our Mission


Welcome to the NWRU web site! The National Welfare Rights Union is an organization of, by, and for the poor in the United States and beyond. We are building a social movement committed to ending poverty and ensuring a better world for our children and ourselves. We are dedicated to unity among low-income, public assistance recipients, and the unemployed.


Some background information
Some people have commented about the relationship between the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). Many social commentators on the Internet have correctly identified the former George Wiley as an instrumental organizer in the origin of both groups. However, ACORN (originally founded as the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now) and the NWRO had significant differences in their leadership and organizing models.

The NWRO then—as with the National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU) now—put the victims of poverty in leadership positions where they advocated for themselves and the needs of other low-income families. The NWRO sought to protect and give a voice to poor women and children across the U.S. in a time when poor families were under attack. Today, the NWRU continues that mission through its local work in chapters across the country, and fights for the human rights and dignity of all victims of poverty.

Welfare Reform
Across the country, thousands of poor and low-income people are suffering from the effects of reform legislation. The implementation of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act ended the entitlement to welfare that had in been in place for over 65 years. Residents of the U.S. are no longer guaranteed the right to feed, to clothe, or to house themselves and their children in this, the richest country in the world. In a time of high and rising unemployment, the government tells its people to "just get a job" without guaranteeing them the right to a job at a livable wage, or a guaranteed adequate annual income if no work can be found. However, we will not die! We will survive by any means necessary and we will fight to ensure that other poor people survive and build a movement in this country that is linked to ending poverty in the world.

If this country truly wants to respond to the needs of its impoverished it must listen to the impoverished who currently suffer under the existing inhumane systems, and who best know what policies must restore our lives. The NWRU will take our movement into the streets of this nation--from the farms of rural America to the tenements of the inner city, from the homeless ghettos to the college campuses, and from the halls of Congress to the hearing rooms of our state houses. We are building a movement that cannot be stopped. We will win--our children's survival and well-being demand no less!

Photos courtesy of Kensington Welfare Rights Union

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