I often hear that it is crazy to believe that we can end poverty. As I watch people around the world develop individual and community solutions – using their great talents and creativity – I believe it is crazy to think that we will NOT end poverty.
Change of this magnitude takes a critical mass believing and acting differently. We are approaching that critical mass; you can see it in communities every day. It is only our vision of what is possible that keeps us from seeing how close we are to the end of poverty in this country. The changing priorities among our youth, in our schools, and in our civic, religious, government, and corporate sectors also tells me that we have the perspective and priority to get it done.
The model for ending poverty will come from channeling all the talents, creativity, and focus on one neighborhood or group of people for whom it has been a cycle – entrenched poverty. As we help them rise out of poverty, using all the resources a community has to offer, we will arrive at a model that is replicable.
Poverty is a social disease, and like any disease in our history, once we have a solution that is replicable, we can spread it.
This focused approach to eradicating a disease that kills so many, so young, and leads to more social ills (drugs, crime, poor health, drop-out rates, etc.) than any other issue – that is what will lead to our brothers’ and sisters’ rise out of poverty.
Unlike a medical break-through, which requires advanced technical skills and knowledge, we can all participate in a social break-through. We can eradicate this social disease, just as we eradicated polio just a half-century ago. Believe it.