To America, poverty is an issue that is important and one that is emotionally charged. America is a country of prosperity, wealth and abundance, yet, many people find it difficult to pay for their basic assistance without financial support. Living in the wealthiest country, the United States still has a significant portion living in poverty. 36.5 million people live in poverty in the United States (Who is poor?). So what is causing poverty is the question many people asked themselves. Who is the majority living in poverty? What can we as a nation do about poverty? Our children are living in poverty more than adults. “Almost 16% of all children in the U.S. live in poverty. 30% of African American children and over 27% of Hispanic children under age 18 live in poverty” (Kirst-Ashman 247). What is normal? For the children of the South Bronx, living with the pollution, the sickness, the drugs, and the violence is the only way of life many of them have ever known. First try to picture children in a slum where the filth in their homes is just as bad as that which is in the streets. Where prostitution is uncontrolled, the thievery is too common, and murder and death is a daily occurrence. Crack-cocaine and heroin are sold in corner markets, and the eyes of men and women wandering about uselessly in the streets of Mott Haven. Their bodies puncture with disease, disease which seems to control the neighborhood. This is Mott Haven, in New York City's South Bronx, the outback of this American nation's poorest congressional district. Looking at the perspective of the people strengths, we can gain the strong belief in God and the search for faith. Although many of the adults are pessimistic and tired, others find the strength in religious faith. Children from families active in the vibrant church communities enthuse about heaven and eternal rewards for living a good life. The children accept that life is not fair, but many talk of God and heaven as a place where fairness and joy will rule. These children know structural changes must occur in order for their lives to improve. Changes can only occur if a nation has a conscience. Their explanations for the inequities of life on earth, however, inevitably return to the uncomfortable conclusion that they are being punished because they are poor, or Black, or Hispanic. Their strong faith in the Lord keeps them going. This can help change some problems because to society they’ll see poor people won’t give up that easy. Many young children have no childhood. They view a homeless shelter as an improvement over previous and current living situations, they see no opportunity of employment for adults, they live surrounded by environmental waste and violence, and they are physically disfigured by household fires because the city and landlords neglect their responsibilities. They live "like rats," see God and death as liberating forces, and pray every night before going to bed. "God bless Mommy. God bless Nanny. God, don't punish me because I'm black" (Kozol 69). These experiences show that we have failed as a nation and as human beings. “Living here is not like being in jail; it’s more like being hidden. It’s as if you have been put in a garage where, if they don’t have room for something but aren’t sure if they should throw it out, they put it there where they don’t need to think of it again.” (38). Issues of achieve goals of social and economic policy would take empowering poor people. That means opening political space for poor people to organize. It also means providing opportunities for women and minorities, by encouraging them to participate as fully as possible in the political process and its organizations. Empowering people, maximizing the resources for development and reducing poverty go hand in hand with building effective institutions, expanding administrative capacity, encouraging local participation and improving the business environment. Economic growth is not a guarantee of poverty...
Cited: Brooks/Cole, 2007.
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