People always ask me – often with a sense of disapproval – why I will not sleep in a bed until everyone in need is able to sleep in a bed. They ask why I work seven days a week, 15 hours a day. They tell me it is unhealthy. I understand that; I just disagree.
If I had children and we were living in poverty – if we had all been born and raised in the challenging conditions that poverty presents – I would hope that people would see the unfairness that is poverty and treat it with the urgency it requires.
I see so many people each week who have lost loved ones at young ages, or who have never experienced the freedom and independence that I have enjoyed since birth. I always, always think that If my mother were living in poverty – and had been for her entire life – I would want others to be unconditional and unlimited in their support. That is why I do what I do, and I am fortunate to be able to see others doing it every day here. I do not have to look far to see role models in this effort. Every department at A Wider Circle features people with growing focus and determination. They work hard, and they bring it every day.
Poverty is our greatest social problem. I do not think that because I am working to end it. I am working to end it because I think that. I see it. Poverty leads to such high drop-out rates, to dangerous and disproportionately high rates of crime and drugs, and so much more. It takes lives in insidious ways and it takes potential away from people before they know they have it.
The people with whom I get to work see this and they dig deep each day to respond appropriately.
This is 1963. It is 1920. It is 1861. Poverty is – like civil rights, women’s suffrage, and slavery were – the issue we must address, and it requires our full commitment. That is what I am fortunate to be able to give to it. And we are just getting started. Click here to join in. Many people will be glad you did.