In a recent attempt to balance the budget after having reduced state revenues by cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy – the NC legislature voted to eliminate state funding for driver education programs at public schools across the state.
I did not pick up on this when it happened. What with their relentless attacks on poor and minority communities, public education, women’s rights, and voting rights, its really hard to keep track of how systematically this group of legislators is destroying many of the things that I love and respect about North Carolina.
Continue reading NC Legislators Cut Off Nose to Spite Face
Poverty is a persistent and perennial problem.
Jesus’ comment, “you always have the poor with you,” is a reflection of this unfortunate but very real aspect of human community. But these words should not be taken as disregard for the poor or for the problem of poverty in our midst. Indeed, the whole of Jesus’ life and ministry witnesses to his deep concern for all those who live on the margins of society, those who are rejected, ignored, or simply fall victim to the vagaries of human existence.
Continue reading Transforming the Teaching of Poverty
When I was in college, my dad lost his job and my parents made due for a year selling people buttons with their kids pictures on them at malls and craft shows while he worked to find a new church. As a preacher’s kid, I had grown up solidly middle-class. While I had a lot of hand-me-down clothes and we rarely bought a new car, we always had enough. We were comfortable.
Continue reading Debunking the Myth of “Bootstrap” Morality
North Carolina has the dubious honor of leading the nation in the increase of people living in high-poverty areas. We are one of the most food insecure states in the country with over 650,000 people (17%) struggling to find enough food to eat and more than 1 in 4 our of children at risk of persistent hunger.
Ten years ago, John Edwards returned to North Carolina to start a new center at the UNC School of Law to address the persistent problems of poverty in our state. Working with Gene Nichol, then dean of the law school, they started the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, whose stated mission is to “advocate for proposals, policies and services to mitigate poverty in North Carolina.” Shortly after Nichol assumed leadership of the center in 2008, the state legislature cut public funding for its work. The center carried on its work supported by private funding sources.
Continue reading Fighting Poverty and Politics in North Carolina