As one of us goes, so go all of us.
As I see poverty take its toll on the lives of people of all ages, I feel like a failure. I see and hear first-hand the stories of women being abused, young people dropping out of school, boys getting shot, men and women of all ages suffering from addiction, and individuals living in neglect simply because they were born into poverty.
These are my problems and your problems. The fact that they endure despite our understanding of them and our ability to more effectively address them leaves a deep void in me.
The overwhelming majority of people who come to A Wider Circle are in poverty because they were born into it. Being born into poverty sentences most to a lifetime of it, and that is why it is our most important social justice issue.
A major concern today is that poverty is sliding down the list of priorities – in a dangerous way for all of us. There are many important issues, and now may seem like the wrong time to put poverty first. But when we live as if every child in poverty is our own, it will become clear that our sense of urgency on poverty is not where it should be. It is your child, your brother, your mother who cannot leave the house at night without fear of violence.
It is poverty that causes this, in the many ways that it shrinks possibilities for those mired in it. And it is a lack of human connection that causes and sustains poverty.
Every day and night that people live in poverty – when solutions are all around us – is a failure on all of our parts. Give of yourself – give whatever it is that you can give – to help folks gain information, access, opportunity, and whatever social capital you can help them gain.
Connect deeply and with commitment to those in poverty, for that is the answer to this problem. It is you – look no further – and once you commit, you will see many ways to engage.
Now is the time to commit to walking alongside your brothers and sisters as they seek to rise out of poverty.