August 16, 2011

American Poverty Tour

Tavis Smiley - author, talk and radio host and Dr. Cornel West - author, activist, speaker and Princeton University Professor launched a poverty tour to bring a voice and conscience to the growing trend of American poverty. Their work is commendable; however, isn't it time for communities (especially the Black) to unify resources to become self-sustaining and less reliant on the government for their livelihood?

American poverty as defined by the Census Bureau looks rich compared to impoverished countries. Is it shameful for Americans to be classified as poor in a country replete with resources? Absolutely! But when immigrants come to this country with different barriers (language being one of them) and succeed, why can't members of the African American communities do likewise?

The current budget cuts aren't pretty, and the cuts are creating deeper wounds. Should the wounded go to the President and Congress, wave bloody bandages to make them stop the bleeding? Or should African Americans look within their communities, find doctors and surgeons to stitch and close the wounds and start healing?

Members of this current administration know poverty exists. Trying to get them to recite the word 'poverty' as an acknowledgement of its existence or a means to change its current 'poverty' policies is like a husband with a nagging wife who wants him to acknowledge, accept, and repent of his sins when he doesn't believe he's a sinner.

Let the war on poverty amongst African Americans be an internal communal war by recruiting soldiers willing to fight (e.g., establish banks, jobs, community health centers, technology centers, and community think tanks), to eradicate it. Not spectators sitting on the sideline critiquing others for not throwing the right punches.

Another economic storm is coming. Waiting for the government to distribute umbrellas will not prevent the poor or middle-class from getting wet or drowning if they can't swim. The face of poverty has drastically changed in America, and African Americans must look within to modify their strategies to solve it.

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