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Showing posts with the label Poverty

Black Women's Equal Pay Day

According to Fortune Magazine , the average Black woman will have finally earned the same amount the average non-Hispanic white man earned a year earlier—eight months later. That’s a problem, not just for Black women who lose out on $900,000 in lifetime earnings, but for everyone. Black women who normally are the heads of their households (i.e., primary breadwinners) earn 63 cents of every dollar a white man makes. Shannon Williams, director of Equal Pay Today - a project of Equal Rights Advocates stated, "The issue of equal pay is not just a woman’s issue because it trickles down into our families, communities, and the overall economy." The Black Women’s Wage Gap is a problem for everyone, but everyone isn’t working to address it! One way to close the wage gap is to close the skill gap. The SOFEI Group is working to decrease pay inequity among women of color through free professional, technical, and certification training for women who want to upgrade their skills to el

Don't Live Within Your Means

Living within your means is well-intended advice to prevent people from acquiring debt. But could this advice prevent individuals from believing and achieving a bigger and better life? Mean among many definitions is average. Living outside your means spiritually, emotionally, and socially can lead to an extraordinary life. Here’s how: Write your big dreams and read them daily Create a vision board with images that coincide with your dreams Review, envision, and mediate daily of you achieving your dreams Surround yourself with people who have what you desire Strive for purpose and not security Live by faith and not fear

Allow People to Grow

Women of color spend a great deal of time tending to the needs of immediate and extended family members to prevent them from dealing with the consequences of their choices. Women will: Mortgage their homes to prevent a loved one from going to jail. Expend their retirement to prevent foreclosure or pay for college. Become a custodian to their abandoned or neglected grandchildren. Decrease their savings to pay their children’s expenses to keep their lives afloat. Stepping in to tend to the needs of family members every time they experience a set-back, doesn’t help them become accountable or responsible for their choices. It teaches them to stay on the path of self-destruction because they know they have access to a reliable source that will catch them before they fall. Every one can’t be saved from the consequences of their choices. Part of the growth and healing process is to learn from the error of our ways. So if they’re old enough to get into a ‘pickle’ let them grow up to get

Poverty is Colorblind

When you hear the word poverty , what's the first image you see or your first thought? Women and children in an impoverished country or women with polished nails holding a sign for help? If you could help a group of women living with poverty, which group would you choose and why? Poverty is more than having more bills at the end of the month than money. It's extreme, situational, institutional, or generational; making it difficult to create pathways to economic independence, wealth, and stability. When we seek support or investment in our work to decrease the trend of poverty amongst women throughout the Washington region, we often receive a plethora of reasons of why we shouldn't help them because their level of poverty isn't as severe as women experiencing poverty in other countries. A local pastor stated, You haven't seen poverty until you've been to a country where people have to drink and bathe in dirty water. Now, that's poverty. What we have h

Invest in yourself

"I only take classes my job pays for." "If my company wants me to stay, they should pay for my training." "As soon as I get my MBA, I’m out of here!" "I only enroll in workshops or classes that are free." If your company pays for training, who’s investing in your professional development, you or your company? If your company pays, what do they get in return? If you pay, what’s the ROI (Return on Investment) for your growth and development? Imagine hiring a contracting company that specializes in home renovations showing up at your doorstep without the skills, tools, or resources to perform the job. Would you pay for the training and resources the contracting company needs to complete the job? Or, would you hire another contracting company equipped with resources and expertise to meet your requirements and deadline to renovate? Corporations are discovering better ways to yield returns on their resources and investments. And unfortun

Skeptics of The Poor

Two homeless women contacted The SOFEI Group for housing assistance after eviction from an area shelter. Housing homeless women and their families is not part of our mission; however, we sought assistance (temporary housing, food, and pampers) from area organizations, churches, and people on their behalf. Following are responses to our request: Why were they evicted? Are they tithing members of a church? They must be irresponsible women to be evicted from a shelter. Why can't they move to another shelter? I don't believe in giving my money to people that don't want to help themselves. Why can't they go and stay with relatives? All responses were valid and The SOFEI Group decided to provide temporary housing and food for these women because they were wandering the street with their children in tote. And, it was discovered their eviction wasn't a result of their carelessness, but their refusal to attend substance abuse (alcohol or drugs) counseling sessions manda

We Plunged

Right into doing something we’ve never done before – host a Zumbathon® Charity Event! Since we’ve been out of the lime-light, we thought hosting a Zumbathon® would be a fun way to reconnect with friends and supporters, and make new ones. We’ve supported Zumbathon® events to benefit heart disease and ovarian cancer. And one-year later we’re hosting our own to benefit women experiencing poverty in the Washington region. The Zumba® Corporate Office approved our Zumbathon® Charity Event within two-hours of submission - a process that normally takes two-business days, and within four-weeks, only 10% of our desired participants have registered. Lesson learned, we’re doing something we’ve never done before and its success can’t be measured solely on who showed up; but, on our commitment to work and move the weight of poverty off the shoulders of women who live with it daily right in our backyard. Not achieving the desired results from this plunge will not stop us from doing it agai

Everyone has had a free ride at least once

Entitlements – programs (e.g., Medicare or Social Security) funded by taxpayers that supposedly benefit non-taxpayers. How can this be especially for taxpayers that worked and contributed towards these programs? And, why are Entitlement programs on the chopping block to balance the budget or reduce the deficit in an effort to stop people from riding free? Free riders are from different ethnic and economic backgrounds. They’re people who cheat on their taxes or avoid paying taxes due to tax shelters buried under complicated tax codes. They’re people who can afford to pay for healthcare, but choose not to; passing their expenses to the shoulders of people strapped with the high cost of health insurance. They're executives who receive government bailouts and bonuses, in spite of their misuse or ill investments of hard working citizens who lost their life savings. They’re also celebrities indulged with expensive gifts they can afford and may not want. What about the poor? A

Should the Government Accumulate Debt for the Poor?

Deuteronomy 15:11 states, For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. The Israelites were instructed by God to help the poor when they arrived to possess the Promised Land to serve as a reminder of God's gift of freedom after their enslavement in Egypt. Some believe people that are poor brought it on themselves, and this belief makes it easy to close our hearts and hands towards them. Helping the poor demonstrates our faith in God and our country. Ignoring to care for the poor for any reason forfeits our humanitarian duty to care for our fellow citizens during their greatest time of need. The battle between Congress and the President on strategies to serve the poor isn’t simply about the rising debt, but the different attitudes towards poverty. Not extending unemployment benefits or decreasing government entitlement programs may decrease the Nat

The Least Factor

At least I have a job – but it’s not rewarding, fulfilling, or impactful. At least I have a man – even though he’s married with children. At least I know dynamic, elitist people - but don’t have authentic connections. At least I go to church – but don’t have a spiritual connection to God. At least I’m liked – but you yearn for unconditional love and encouragement. At least I have a GED – but was born with potential beyond a general education. Energy exhausted striving for the least is a fast race to the bottom. If you’re going to run, strive for the top (i.e., your best). No one spends time practicing to enter a race with the intention to lose or end at the bottom.

Got Power?

According to Target Market News 16th annual report Buying Power of Black America , the expenditures of Blacks rose to $507 billion dollars. The top five expenditures were: Housing $203.8 billion Food $65.2 billion Cars/Trucks $29.1 billion Clothing $29.3 billion Health Care $23.6 billion Who or what is being empowered as a result of this Black Buying Power ? Is the employment gap among Blacks closing? Are the increasing numbers of disparities within the Black Community decreasing? Is the growing trend of poverty amongst low-income, women-led families being addressed? Is this buying power restoring or strengthening the Black family unit - a foundation in society? It appears the Buying Power of Blacks is generating economic stability and wealth outside of their communities. Yep! It's helping other Ethnic groups establish businesses in socially and economically disadvantaged communities (i.e., underserved Black Communities) for members of their group. And, this buying powe

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? O