Friday, December 30, 2005

Rocky Mountain News: Speakout

Rocky Mountain News: Speakout: "Speakout: Where did the bedrock of charity go?
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By Richard Male, Special to the News
December 30, 2005
For a brief moment last summer, Americans saw terrible poverty exposed on national television. As the floodwaters and high winds of Hurricane Katrina stripped away buildings, America's shame was broadcast around the world. Our shame that - in this land of plenty - one in five residents of Louisiana and Mississippi lived in poverty. And yet, terrible as the disaster was, many human-service nonprofits saw an opportunity. Surely, they reasoned, now that the entire world has seen how America treats its poor, there will be a change. Surely our government will be shamed into action.

In 1962, when Michael Harrington's seminal work, The Other America, was released, President Kennedy was shocked to read of the vast subculture of poverty and vowed to do something about it. Sadly, the War on Poverty has largely been ignored since the Reagan years. Indeed, the current administration could almost be said to be waging a war on poor people themselves. In 2004, 37 million people in the U.S. lived in poverty, up 1.1 million from 2003."

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