Interview with Senator Roxanne Jones

And you hadn't been active beforehand. How did you become active?


I, I became active because several months after I started to OIC, Opportunity Industrialization Center, I took the printing course and then I found a job in the paper. It said printer's helper, and I went and convinced that printer that I was the person for him to hire, and he hired me. And unfortunately, I worked for three months and my daughter's godmother took sick with the stroke and I was thrown back home again with my youngest daughter who was only two at the time. And I had to stay home and take care of her. There wasn't any child care around at that time. And so a leaflet came under my door one day, and that leaflet said, "If you're on welfare, you have some rights. Would you like to have more money to live on, would you like to be treated in dignity?" And I kept on reading and I saw down there, Welfare Rights Organization was holding this meeting at, ah, South Front Street. And I went to that meeting that day, it was a community center. And I guess I was so vocal that I became the chairperson that day. They elected me that day to become chairperson. We organized and immediately you say, how did I become active after being treated the way I was. After a couple of meetings hearing how those other women were treated, we began to, right then, organize to try to change the system. First of all we wanted to bring about dignity to ourselves because we knew we were somebody. We were mothers, we loved our children just like a working person loved their kids. And we wanted to be respected that way. And we began to organize then. That's how I became active. Being a welfare mother, being mistreated.