The WRI Oral History Project documents the history of the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. The aim is to examine, via these oral history interviews, social movement activity at the level of a grassroots organization as exemplified by the WRI, which was developed to aid student welfare recipients to become agents of social change and actively involve them with policymaking.

This project documents WRI’s progression from a student and faculty-led grassroots movement to its present incarnation as a student advocacy organization. WRI seeks to serve under-served populations citywide, primarily women and girls, via its outreach programs that are designed to encourage those who are economically disadvantaged to study and obtain higher education and/or job training. This oral history project gives a platform to those who generally have little voice in the public debate on welfare reform: former and/or current welfare recipients- WRI’s founders and membership base. It will also provide students and scholars of social movements with a positive working example of how women from various backgrounds can band together and enact social change.

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