Hundreds of people from across the country stormed the headquarters of the ultra-conservative heritage foundationTuesday. In a surprise action, the group rushed past security, down hallways, and toward the main elevator bank,where they waylaid welfare policy analyst, Robert Rector. Rector is known for his controversial views on welfarerecipients particularly his belief that it is an immoral “culture of poverty” that keeps people poor. But Tuesday,he came face to face with the people he has written about for so many years. Surrounded by single moms andlow-income dads, a visibly shaken Rector agreed to the group’s demands to spend two days walking in poverty’s shoes.As people shouted, “answer the question, answer the question,” he also promised to invite his colleague Jason Turnerto join him on his visit to two low-income neighborhoods–one in rural America, the other in the inner-city. JasonTurner is the father of the New York and Wisconsin welfare “reform” programs.
The action at the Heritage Foundation capped off a day of marches, rallies, and protests organized by the NationalCampaign for Jobs and Income Support. The National Campaign is a movement of more than 1,500 grassroots groups thathave come together around the upcoming reauthorization of the 1996 welfare reform act. Other actions yesterdayincluded a take-over of the Democratic Leadership Council and a rally in front of the Health & Human Services Corp.
- Lizzy Ratner, producer, Democracy Now!