Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Stigma of being poor
Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section featured an opinion piece by friend and local writer, K.E. Semmel. Hey, Chairman Dean, Don't Write Me Off is one man's plea to the Democratic Party to a take to the retro and return to its working class roots. It is one of the many sirens being sounded across this country calling for a focus on poverty. As many of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know, there is a piece of my soul that will always belong to the poor. Like Semmel, I come from a strictly working class family. Raised by my mom and both grandparents in rural Texas, I was educated on the poor side town at one of those schools that got "left behind" and was the first in my family to graduate from college. My father left us when we were young, and my mother struggled to support her family by working at the local publishing plant. Each year I appreciate my roots more and more, and as the months and years roll by, I continue to ask myself if I'm doing the right thing with my life. I believe I'm giving back to the community, but am I giving back in the most meaningful way? I want to help people, those in need. Semmel's article is one in a series of things that keep pushing this to the forefront of my thought life. I am reminded of what I'm not doing by the homeless I see (Stench of the city, Where do you find God?, The unsinkable human spirit?) daily in the streets. Groups like Sojourners keep testing my faith and calling me to fight for what is right. I sit in church on Sunday and listen to a sermon on the poor and the stigma surrounding them. I hear/read/see all of these things and ask myself whether I am doing enough. I ask myself if this is the sign I have been waiting for.