Struggles for a Livelihood

A few recent articles and videos depict the lives of those on the margins, struggling with circumstances beyond their control that make daily existence difficult in some cases, and near impossible in others:

An editorial appearing in the September 15, 2015 issue of The New York Times, “How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth,” reports that not only is redlining alive and well but it is also expensive for those pushed behind the line. The National Fair Housing Alliance filed a discrimination complaint on September 9, 2015 against Remax and 2 Remax real estate agents in Jackson, Mississippi. Here’s the crux of the complaint:

The agents steered the white home seekers away from interracial neighborhoods in Jackson, which is majority African American, and into majority white areas such as Pearl, Ridgeland, Richland, Clinton, Madison County, Rankin County, and Palahatchie. Conversely, the African American testers who inquired about properties in the Jackson area were often never called back and were generally provided very limited information.

The Syrian migrants in Europe struggle every day to retain their dignity and humanity, living in refugee camps with very little food, no sanitation, and ongoing denigration. Here’s one person’s story of life with the migrants.

Gary White and Matt Damon, in their Huffington Post article about the cost of water across the globe, “It’s Expensive to Be Poor,” argue that those living in poverty — in every country — pay more per unit for the basics, including clean potable water, than those who are not living in poverty.

It’s expensive to be poor. So expensive in fact that people who live below a country’s poverty line can end up paying 5-15x per liter of water compared to people who live above that poverty line. When given a choice and an opportunity to pay for water and sanitation improvements over a reasonable period of time, families opt to finance long-term solutions versus struggle day-to-day to find that next liter of drinking water, use a pay-per-use community toilet, or risk the danger of open defecation.

In her TED Talk, Mia Birdsong suggests that those living in poverty are their own resource.

“We are magic” — Mia Birdsong


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