Almost1 in 5 children in the United States grows up in poverty. This is in thewealthiest country in the world. A schoolteacher in Nepal once asked me ifthere were poor people in the USA. It was a difficult question to answer. SinceI'd arrived in Kathmandu, and Asia as a whole, I'd seen more people living inmore crushing poverty than I'd ever imagined. The homeless in India are in muchmore dire straits than the homeless in Los Angeles -- those in India aremissing multiple limbs, missing eyes, emaciated, desperate, starving to deathin front of my eyes. Yet human suffering is human suffering. Does the Vietnamveteran who freezes to death in an alley on a particularly cold night deserveour sympathy any less than a leper, dying slowly in India?
Inthis month's issue of InTheFray, we explore poverty. NatalieLefevre shares with usthe piece Europe's most hated people, which takes a look at Roma living in Europe. Natalie Lefevre alsowrites about her experiences with HIV/AIDS patients in Thailand in Caringfor the rejected. Poet Lynn Strongin explores her poem TheWitnessing.
Soit is a difficult question to answer. Is there poverty in the United States?Well, look around. What do you see?
As skills and energy became more of a demand, people who didn't have skills just got left behind, got shuttled to the side. Education didn't keep up with their promise. Education didn't prepare them for this new world. Jobs went overseas. —Julian Bond, American civil rights activist and chairman of the NAACP