There’s Still Plenty to Talk About.

December 18, 2012 in Conversation, Health, Homelessness, Jobs & Training, Poverty by Tania Jones

Last March when United Way launched its conversation series, Faces of Poverty, our goal was to have an open and honest discussion about how living in poverty impacts the lives of individuals and families in our community. And while we weren’t sure where the conversation would take us, we felt a sense of responsibility as one of the largest funders of social service programs in the Twin Cities whose very mission is to build pathways out of poverty, to lead by example.

Throughout 2012, it seemed more and more conversations were starting to happen, both locally and nationally.  Whatever the reason—the presidential election, a national awakening, a sense of urgency or a confluence of all these events— the problem of poverty was on our collective minds. NPR’s Poverty in America, Marketplace Money’s Wealth & Poverty series and various local commentaries confronted the issue.

As 2012 draws to a close and planning gets underway for a conversation looking at poverty and education in January 2013, United Way is poised once again to take an unflinching look at the problem with an eye toward solutions.

Recently, I watched Frontline’s documentary on childhood poverty, Poor Kids. The film was disturbing on many levels. Looking at poverty through the eyes of children living it is gut-wrenching. As each families’ story unfolded, I wondered out loud how a country with so much could ever have gotten to a place of being okay with children going hungry.

There is no doubt that the problem of poverty is complex and long-term solutions elusive. There is also no doubt that the conversation must continue—the alternative is unthinkable.