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What can we do about poverty? This is not a rhetorical question.

June 5, 2015

On my way home today I saw a moment at a bus stop. A woman was rubbing her little boy’s head. He was burying his face into the side of her back and wearing a bright green cape. It stood out, I think, because of its tenderness. It was lovely, but also sad. As a mom, I projected my own fears and insecurities on to it, seeing a little boy, who left school early because he didn’t feel well and, because his mom can’t afford a car, had to walk all that way and wait on a busy street for a bus when all he wanted was to be home in bed.

That scene made me think about a documentary Cyrus and I watched a few weeks back called, “Los Angels: Skid Row is my Home”. It’s a look at the people who live on Skid Row and the effects of gentrification and society on their lives. I’m not going to lie, it’s intense, but worth it. So worth it. Did you know that Skid Row was a planned community of sorts? That it’s the only extremely low income housing in the city that is surrounded by services designed to help these people? It left me with the obvious reminder that, as a society we have to do better. But how? And after a few days of stomach knotting outrage, I set it away in the back of my mind, only to be looked at once a day.

That was all still on my mind when I got home and signed into Twitter, where I saw the hashtag “#PovertyIs”. It’s exactly what it sounds like: People posting what poverty is. It’s fucking heartbreaking. And true.

a mother going hungry for another night just to feed her children in a society where restaurants throw food away every day.
making enough to pay rent but not enough to feed your family WHILE BEING TOLD IT’S TOO MUCH INCOME to qualify for food stamps.
delaying taking your kid to the doctor hoping ear infection will heal, because copay plus medicine means no groceries for a week.
This is unacceptable and I cannot put it in the back of my mind to be trotted out and sad about once a day. The point of all of this is to ask for help. Food and monetary donations are a step, but not enough. This goes higher, much higher, but where to start? How?
As I type this, there are people less than five miles from my climate controlled house who are on the street, who are being evicted so that the uber rich can, what? Feel urban? It’s gross.
I don’t have a lot of money, certainly not enough to pay off politicians, but I have passion. I just need somebody to tell me where and how it will do the most good.
Any and all suggestions welcomed.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 6, 2015 1:12 am

    I grapple with very similar concerns, Clem. The chasm separating the elite from the impoverished seems to be expanding at a frightening pace. I touched on this in one of my blog posts a little while ago: http://blairpatrickschuyler.com/2014/10/16/the-forgotten/

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