This week’s Villa Zoom meeting was right on target. It was timely, thought-provoking, and long overdue. Mirroring the “Poor People’s Campaign,” a national call for moral revival, its agenda high-lighted critical racial inequities as it dove-tailed several recent gatherings throughout the United States.
What was especially notable during this week’s meeting was the evident “buy in” of the 20 Zoomers as they tuned in to the many struggles faced by poor white people, persons of color, and other minorities. Topics such as poverty, systemic racism, voting rights, ecological devastation, health, and war economy laid bare a long list of roadblocks faced by the poor and disadvantaged in our society.
Systemic racism with offshoots such as economic disempowerment and inequitable voting rights held center stage as we faced the hard facts surrounding life below the poverty threshold of $30,718 and a minimum wage scale of $7.25 per hour. This, coupled with the fact that over 10 million people are without housing while there are 18 million vacant homes across America, is unconscionable.
The poor we have always with us,
but their economic disadvantage hobbles them in ways we can only begin to comprehend. Today, more than 52,000 citizens (most of them black) are denied voting rights due to current or prior imprisonment. Four hundred and eighty-two thousand children live in food insecure households that jeopardize their health and scholastic success. Epidemics that reflect patterns of exclusion and discrimination break out along divides in our society, while deep social and economic failures reinforce existing inequities in health care. Militarism and violence, landmarks of U.S. policy both at home and abroad, invest in a culture of war rather than a culture of care.
How very evident it is that we, as citizens, must re-examine our own priorities and the policies of our nation? Now more than ever, we must step up to the plate and take action. Villa Zoomers are seeking ways to do this, for everybody has a right to live. We are all one.