About 20 years ago, there was a magazine cover of a few “vocal” radio personalities that got paid quite a bit, and they seemed to affect the American consciousness just as much. Each day, their commentaries were loud, a combination of enthusiasm and just plain hate. They were disrespectful to others, they ridiculed opinions that were not the same as theirs, and yet they were getting attention from millions and millions of people across our country.
At about the same time, I remember being in a lecture given by an individual who addressed this by saying that the problem was not that we were yelling about hate; it was that we were whispering about love.
The relevance to the movement to end poverty is clear. We need to be loud, shouting every day at the top of our lungs – literally or figuratively with our actions – making sure that nobody can avoid seeing and hearing about poverty and its fatal effects.
That is what it means to shout about love. Ending poverty is the single best way to show we love our fellow human beings, and not just those with whom we share a house, place of worship, or opinion. It is how we show that we love all beings – per the teachings in which so many believe – and that we are here for one another.
I know that this love for one another is what we really feel because I see it every time there is a crisis – 9/11, Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and many others. When a crisis hits, we will run into buildings to save people we do not know, drive supplies across the country, and house people who lost their own. Anyone who can help tends to help – people of all ages.
Poverty is Katrina every day. People are lined up without homes, without food, without security – without all those things that we can easily provide to them just by caring more. We have plenty of resources, plenty of creativity, and plenty of compassion.
We now have to engage and connect with those in need, yell and scream about this until we end poverty for one family and one individual after another. You would never let your child live in the apartments in which so many children currently do – with no safety, no beds, no food, and no dignity. Our actions have to be loud; they have to be big. Our voices have to be just as loud, and they have to be constant. We have to keep poverty at the top of our priority list.
We have to. WE HAVE TO!