THE WORKFARE MEDIA INITIATIVE (WMI), created in November 2001, trains community organizers who are current and former welfare recipients to use the film, A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY in their organizing work. Consisting of twelve two-hour sessions in topics such as group facilitation, media literacy, welfare history, political analysis and conflict resolution, our trainings build low-income activists' leadership skills and strengthen their advocacy efforts.

The Initiative then schedules community screenings and discussions throughout New York City facilitated by the trained media organizers. Here, the media organizers:

  • Lead discussions in which audiences share theemotional reactions and thoughts that the movie raised
  • Question stereotypes of poor people and welfare
  • Educate audiences about the realities of New YorkCity’s workfare program,The Work Experience Program (WEP) and use this totalk big picture about welfare-to work programs across the country
  • Provide a community forum for dialogue about welfareand poverty in New York City and nationally; and
  • Inspire audiences to take action around current welfare policies at the local,state, and federal levels, especially Congress’ reauthorization of Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)
  • WMI Media Organizers lead screenings and discussions of A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY with numerous audiences including youth, university students, welfare rights and other community based organizations, unions, communities of faith, policymakers, and others.

    To schedule a screening in your community, please contact Kathy Leichter at: 212-280-3444 or

About the Media Organizers

Linda Iannacone is an artist, video producer, activist and educator. She has taught video production, media literacy and visual arts to adults and youth through MNN, Educational Video Center, DCTV, Paper Tiger TV, Henry Street Settlement House and international programs in Vienna and Berlin. Linda has worked for over ten years with Paper Tiger TV, a volunteer collective which produces video for social change and has been a founding player of the Indymedia Center movement. She has produced many programs including "Drawing the Line at Pittston" covering an 11 month coal miners strike, "Staking a Claim in Cyberspace" a look at the changing information technologies and access to media, and "Rock Paper, Missiles" a critique of the U.S. role in supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine. "I believe in holistic activism, that our work is a constant evolution of ourselves and the people and world around us; employing art, music, voice, and action toward a greater understanding, respect and social justice."

Yvonne Shields is a Board member and member of Community Voices Heard and a welfare recipient. She was the former coordinator of the largest, private, not-for-profit child and adult care food program for certified providers. She has fought for the rights of poor people all her life. Working in early child care for over twenty-five years, she has changed her career path to working in the field of culinary arts.

Leslie Monroy is a Latina welfare recipient, mother of three, board member of Make The Road by Walking, and serves on the Planning Committee of The New York Women's Foundation. She has been an effective and crucial leader in the fight for just and effective welfare reform, working primarily on the campaign to provide translation in welfare offices.

Diomaris Rosario As a former welfare recipient, Diomaris felt that the system made to "help" you was really a system that was made to keep you down. Therefore, at twenty, she became an activist/community organizer for two excellent organizations: Community Voices Heard and Picture the Homeless. She is currently spending more time at home with her husband, two year old daughter and eight year old son but working part-time and still very much involved in the struggle/movement.

Sandra White became an activist in 1995 after losing her job at a bank. She had a horrific experience while being on welfare and because of it helped start an organization called WEP WORKERS TOGETHER which is now called FUREE (FAMILIES UNITED FOR RACIAL AND ECONOMIC EQUALITY), which helps families learn about their rights as welfare recipients.

Maribel Pena is a member of Community Voices Heard (CVH) and a former welfare recipient. Currently Maribel is working for the Parks Department as a City Seasonal Aide. She has worked as a peer educator teaching about STD’s and HIV prevention to homeless women and men in the shelter system. As a CVH leader, Maribel attended the World Social Forum in Puerto Allegre, Brazil in 2002, where she built relationships with low-income activists in Brazil with whom she is still in contact. Her recent organizing efforts include being a facilitator for The Workfare Media Initiative, raising money for English classes for her Brazilian activist sisters and brothers and public speaking with CVH for transitional jobs for low-income people. She is a single mother of two boys.

Cliff Mosley is a former welfare recipient who is currently Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the New York City Aids Housing Network. Cliff set up the first on-site computer program for public housing in New York State. He also set-up the first work-release site for inmates at Attica, NY. Cliff was a columnist for The Poughkeepsie Journal. He has a Master’s and a B.A. from Marist College. Cliff is also a singer/songwriter and is in the process of cutting his first CD.

The Workfare Media Initiative is funded by The MacArthur Foundation, The Public Welfare Foundation, The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, The Sonya Staff Foundation, The Samuel Rubin Foundation, The North Star Fund, The Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund, The Gaea Foundation, The Brooklyn Arts Council, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, and many generous individuals.

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