Poverty: Policies and Possibilities (Part 2 — Read: Part 1)
By: Shannon Joyce Prince
Contributing Writer – YourBlackWorld.com
Imagine a program that built a childcare center which gave teens construction work experience, used Department of Agriculture funds to pay poor women to cook for poor children, taught poor women to become day care teachers and run day cares, and helped poor women get their GED’s. Imagine this program also provided mortgage counseling and founded a health center that provided forty local women with jobs. Now imagine the program was run almost entirely by black welfare mothers. Such a program did once exist. It was called Operation Life. It was at its peak during the 70′s and 80′s and is detailed in the book Storming Caesar’s Palace by Annelise Orleck.
Operation Life was based on the principle that the poor themselves are the experts on poverty and many current successful programs make that adage their foundation. [...]
Another factor in reducing poverty is looking for creative solutions that solve multiple problems. [...]
For example, many poor neighborhoods have constructed community gardens in vacant lots. In Philadelphia, crime on some blocks dropped 90% after the creation of community gardens [...]
More At Your Black Life
Poverty: Policies and Possibilities
By: Shannon Joyce Prince
Reprinted From Black Agenda Report
“Poor people can use themselves as weapons against poverty.”
With the recession imperiling the nation’s well-being, poverty is on everyone’s mind regardless of their political orientation. Yet too often the poor are cast as ignorant and impotent pawns needing either a kick in the pants or a magical cocktail of resources and programs. The dialogue typically stalls around what “we” must do for or to “them” as though the poor lack ingenuity and agency.
In this commentary I identify four ideas that can be used to battle poverty: ending marriage penalties, deregulating selected industries, creating tax-funded social programs run by the poor, and creating community gardens. [...]
The problem often isn’t that the poor aren’t pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, but rather when they do so they are told they don’t have the appropriate credentials. [...] For example, many poor black women braid hair as a way of making money. However, as the National Center for Public Policy Research points out, many states have threatened these women with arrest because they don’t have cosmetology licenses; licenses that often demand taking courses that cost around $10,000, and frequently don’t even cover hair braiding in their curriculum [...]
More At Your Black Politics
Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. [...]
“We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country,” said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a D.C.-based anti-hunger policy organization. “If the economic forecasts come true, we’re likely to see the most hunger that we’ve seen since the 1981 recession and maybe since the 1960s, when these programs were established.”
The Agriculture Department is set to release the new numbers as early as this week. Agency officials declined to confirm the figures but outlined them in a briefing last month for advocates and administrators of state food stamp programs. Breaking the symbolically important 30 million mark comes on the heels of government data showing that 11.9 million people went hungry in the United States at some point last year [...]
Barack Obama: The Test of Black CommUNITY
By: Tolu Olorunda
Staff Writer – YourBlackWorld.com
“But we must understand that we are now at a stage of struggle for a People’s Democracy… The mass support of Obama by the national Afro-American movement, especially its progressive sector, will reinvigorate our struggle… We must enter into that mainstream struggle & make our own demands, utilize the pressure of our needs & our numbers. We are almost 50 million people with the 16th GNP in the world… almost 600 Billion dollars a year. We have the muscle and the money. We need to make our move.”
-Renowned Poet and Activist, Amiri Baraka, in a speech earlier this year.
The Black CommUNITY has laid its bed and must now lie in it. To be sure, this author is not particularly pleased with the 95% level of unconditional support from the Black CommUNITY, vis-à-vis Obama’s presidential bid. Nevertheless, Obama’s unpredictable popularity within the Black CommUNITY is a testament to an often glossed over, deep-seated desire/potential for divine unity of the Black CommUNITY. Obama’s candidacy, thankfully, buttressed this reality in unequivocal terms. Many have privately joked, over the past week, about the seeming impossibility of the Black CommUNITY agreeing on any specific agenda, let alone a political one. Some have quipped that the last time such unprecedented levels of support was rendered in favor of anything, O.J. Simpson was on trial for double murder. The comedic value of such statement notwithstanding, its veracity is unquestionable. Having rallied around this man, with unwavering support, let there be no more excuses for our disunity, or inability to remain unified around the ultimate cause: Total liberation.
On at least three key issues, the world will need the assistance of the Black CommUNITY to emerge victorious:
Find Out At Your Black Politics
Iconic activist and child advocate, Marian Wright Edelman, speaks to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! In this discussion, Edelman expresses deep concern over the level of indifference directed at the plight of young children of every color. Eldeman worries that the dream Dr. King had, has never been granted a chance at fruition; and the ” triple evils” of racism, economic exploitation and militarism, which he warned of, have become part and parcel of our humanity. She also admonishes, in a prophetic tone, that its time to “begin to get our heads screwed on straight and to begin to invest in the future and in our young people today.” If not, Marian Edelman, who is founder and president of Children’s Defense Fund, is certain that such inaction would “topple America’s leadership in the world in the future.” Marian Wright Edelman furthermore urges the world to pay more close attention to tomorrow’s inhabitants:
From Your Black Education
Ms Pierre-Louis, who has called on the international community to more assistance, said part of the city of Gonaives might have to be moved.
She said the whole country has been devastated by four storms which struck in just over three weeks.
The problem was too great for Haiti to deal with on its own, she added.
“We need major support and it is time for the world to understand that,” she said.
“We’ve suffered too much in this country.”
Strong winds and torrential rains over the past month have battered Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure and left more than 550 people dead.
Ms Pierre-Louis told the BBC that part of the city of Gonaives, which was almost completely destroyed by the hurricanes, may now have to be built elsewhere.
She also admitted that unless victims of the storms receive more help, rising discontent could force her from office.