Interview with Senator Roxanne Jones

We're back, back more than 20 years ago in the 1960s. How did you get involved, I mean you were never active beforehand? How did you become involved?


Well I became involved because I had to get on welfare, I had a broken marriage, and I had two children and I was working as a waitress. I became sick and a doctor told me, you know, I should go and get help from from welfare. At the time I had a constable's sign on my door. That's when they let all your neighbors know you owe rent and I had my electric being threatened to be cut off and I went to the Welfare Department. Ah, I didn't know that much about welfare at that time because I came from a working family, I had heard the welfare word used in the block where I lived. One lady was supposed to have been on welfare. And I just, not knowing much about it, but with the doctor saying they would help me, I went there with the idea I was going to get help. And, ah, I will never forget that day as long as I live. How I was treated, the disrespect. Not only me but everybody was sitting around in that office. And, ah, I didn't get welfare that day. As a matter of fact it took two weeks. As a matter of fact I didn't get welfare until I talked, a lady in the building where I lived knew a politician. And I went to see him. And he told me that when I go back the next day if I was, was going to be trea- if she began to treat me bad again, for me to ask to see her supervisor. And that's exactly what happened. When I asked to see her supervisor, I became Mrs. Jones with a smile and all of a sudden I got help, I got welfare that day. And that's the day, when I got home I fell on my knees and I thanked God for the check. And I told him if he would just allow me to do the best I could for my kids, that I promised him that I would be a good mother, that I would be both mother and father to my kids, and I would do whatever was possible to change the way that I was treated that day.