“We need to build a workers’ movement that fills the streets”


This interview is from Emma Denice Milligan on behalf of Women’s Economic Agenda Project (WEAP) and Tapestry Ministry.

People’s Tribune: Who holds power in America and how did they get it?
Emma Denice Milligan: The 1 percent. Mostly they bought it by using their money in ways that made them famous or wealthier.

People’s Tribune: What is the greatest impact of their power on us?
Emma: Today they attack unions. They attack democracy. They gentrify our neighborhoods. They want to privatize public schools so the poor can’t get a good education. Education is hard to get for people with Disabilities. You see, when having a Disability, it’s not easy for people to see you for who you are. People think you can’t do anything —NOT TRUE! I went to school online and people said things like, “she won’t go all the way.” I went to a religious school and got my Certificate in 2014 and I’m a long-time volunteer of WEAP. I work with all kinds of people. We empower people to let them know they have a voice. I use a head pointer to type with, that’s how I do my work. Some people may think because we have a Disability we aren’t human or don’t have feelings. We are and we do. At WEAP we teach that it’s a human right to have what we need, like healthcare for all, not just for the 1 percent. I just spent two weeks in the hospital and they tried to send me home when I was still sick. Because this big medical corporation said I was taking up too much space and money, my family has to pretend to be doctors. The other hat I wear is at Tapestry Ministries, where I’m a Coordinator for people living with Disabilities and I’m on the Ministry team. I talk to people who think that they are worthless and feel like they don’t belong anywhere.

People’s Tribune: How do we get power?
Emma: By relearning our history and by teaching ourselves what really matters. We are the richest country. The corporations are replacing us with robots as fast as they can, and throwing workers they don’t need on the scrap heap. We need to build a workers’ movement that fills the streets. To learn the lessons of our time and movement we need a people’s press like the People’s Tribune that examines all the attacks on workers that mainstream media won’t cover.  We need to use this tool to help us learn how to get political power. We need to know about situations like the attacks on democracy in Michigan, and about fighters like Rev. Edward Pinkney who sits in jail on phony trumped-up charges because he had the nerve to protest the way a major corporation is taking over a low-income majority Black town.

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