Inform to Transform
Every day I work with people who do not get the information they need nor do they get it in a form they can comprehend. One of the challenges in organizing is to connect people to the resources that are supposed to be available to them. It is a hallmark of freedom to have access to information.
Wednesday Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI) students organized a resource fair called a "Know Your Rights Training" at Hunter College for students receiving public assistance. WRI Hunter students and City University of New York School of Law organized the fair to bring essential information to students receiving public assistance on how they can stay in college.
WRI and CUNY Law have had a unique collaboration for the last eight years. WRI trains and organizes low income and students receiving welfare to advocate for access to education and training for themselves and others. CUNY Law students are training through the Economic Justice Project to become lawyers and work directly with students as advocates.
The learning community that is created allows for a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives. People with first hand experience of welfare gain knowledge of the laws and regulations that affect their lives, and law students understand the effects of laws in new ways, and both groups work together toward the systemic changes that are necessary if we are to have more humane and productive policies.
Education theorist Paulo Freire said, "Education...becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."
Sometimes the first step in transformation is getting the information. Helpful information, for those seeking it, can be found on our website www.wri-ny.org.