While not enough conversation was held about poverty during the past political campaign season, I hope the conversation – and actions – will pick up considerably once those elected take office. For we must re-focus on the most important campaign this country faces; the one to bring freedom and independence to those born, raised and living today in poverty.
I watched several news programs include a segment on poverty in the past year – with well-informed folks and perhaps some not as well-informed – and each time the disappointment I felt was significant. People who talked about poverty just did not seem to bring any urgency or any desire to get really committed to it, other than a segment of talking or criticizing others for not doing more.
I have also seen over the years how politics gets in the way of the best intentions of our elected officials. I actually worked through the summer and early fall hoping that nobody would talk about poverty during the campaign stops, and that once in office, those who were elected would not stop talking about it.
I hoped poverty and the lives of those in poverty would not be used as some form of talking point or leverage point for votes. The kids who die each day in our country for no other reason than being born into poverty need us all to bring a serious focus and effort to ending it.
I know there are many in our country who understand how intolerable it is for us to have such poverty so close to and surrounded by such wealth. That reality is the American reality right now; you can help change that… not by talking, but by getting engaged.
The campaign can begin anew in each home each day, as you think about and act on what you can do. Donate stuff, donate your time, get behind work that is helping people to lift themselves out of poverty. When a person rises out of poverty to become independent – free from having to ask for help for a meal, a bed, a piece of clothing, or a doctor’s bill – we all become more human.
The campaign to end poverty is our calling today – at this point and time in our history – and I look forward to working with more and more of you to bring attention and energy to where it is needed most.