Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Being poor still means you will be publically shamed

This is a new year, and we always hope for better things; however, some things stay the same. Let me rehash:

“In a nation that has long operated on the principle that an "American Dream" is available to anyone willing to try hard enough, the term "working poor" may seem to have a bright side. Sure, these individuals struggle financially, but they have jobs -- the first and most essential step toward lifting oneself out of poverty, right?http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/19/working-poor-stories_n_5297694.html

“The criminalization of America’s poor has been quietly gaining steam for years, but a recent study, “The Poor Get Prison,” co-authored by Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr, reveals the startling extent to which American municipalities are fining and jailing the country’s most vulnerable people, not just punishing them for being poor, but driving them deeper into poverty”.

“A few months ago, the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report revealed how that city has disproportionately targeted its majority minority population with traffic and other minor infractions that heavily support the municipality's coffers. But Ferguson is far from alone. Municipalities like New York City have greatly increased the number of minor offenses that are considered criminal (like putting your feet up in the subway) or sitting on the sidewalk”. 

“Five troubling trends from the report that show us how the government is financially abusing poor people”:

1.      Jailing probationers who can’t pay fees and fines
2.      Taking poor people’s property through asset forfeit seizures
3.      School-to-prison pipeline
4.      Hyper criminalization of petty infractions
5.      Fining the homeless for being homeless

Debtor’s prison was supposedly abolished decades ago, but here it is alive and well, especially with for profit prisons!

Now imagine you are a student in school and you have to live like this daily, you are surrounded by this daily, kids make fun of your clothes, and you do not want anyone to know you get free lunch. Imagine the things you might do to try and fit in, or worse imagine the ways you can be taken advantage of because you want to fit in.

America, during this political season, instead of focusing on the things that population is not worried about on a daily basis; why not focus on this issue because I guarantee we have all worried about making it at one time or another. Your average person is worried about maybe three of things:

1.      Food
2.      Shelter
3.      Stability

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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