Against Rosa's Odds

On the Road With a Welfare Warrior

"I wish the politicians could walk in my shoes, so they could know how I really feel—walking around out there without the right shoes, without lunch, nine to five, every fucking day!" The crowd screams and stamps. Rosa inhales and belts: "We have to organize! We have to stop this! We have to beat the system!"

She exits to whistles and cheers, shaking all over. "Rosa, Rosita," a sister intones. Hands reach out and tousle her hair. Arms gather her into an embrace. A smile grows at the corners of her mouth. She nailed it.

Now the rule makers in suits will decide the rest.

Rosario Rodriguez, bruised but not broken, in Washington, D.C.
photo: Bill Burke
Rosario Rodriguez, bruised but not broken, in Washington, D.C.


Research assistance: Marissa Moss

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