Coalition demands full funding for human needs

HOUSTON — A new group, the Coalition of Working People and the Poor (CWPP), held a press conference Feb. 28 on the steps of City Hall. Under the leadership of Bishop James Dixon II of the Community of Faith Church, the group is demanding “full funding for all programs that support human needs.” A massive march is slated for March 24, starting at 12 noon at Hermann Square in downtown Houston.

Richard Shaw, Secretary-Treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO, pointed out that “working people in this country are hurting, the middle class is disappearing … the working poor who are working can’t move into the middle class if this keeps up.” He added, “This is about the President’s budget. Where are we going to spend our money and what is it going to do for working people?”

Bishop Dixon declared that “citizens who work in the richest country on the globe are entitled to such things as health care.” Noting that over 40 million Americans are without health care and nearly one third of U.S. children live in poverty, Dixon added, “It is amazing there are still persons so mean-spirited in government who would challenge the legitimacy of children’s health insurance programs and making them accessible to all the citizens in this state.”

While the U.S. spends $195 million a day on the Iraq war, Dixon said, “billions of dollars have been cut from programs supporting people trying to work their way toward the American dream. The “middle class” is fast becoming the “misery class,” he said, because people who work every day but cannot provide a dignified livelihood for their families are absolutely in misery.

The new coalition “has come together today to say we are lifting the needs of people before the needs of special interests,” Dixon told the press conference. He pointed out that while the minimum wage has not been increased since 1997, inflation has risen 26 percent in the same period. “All of us are God’s children and deserve and demand dignity and respect and fairness,” he said.

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