Posts Tagged ‘Harry Thomas’
June 16th, 2010
Last Saturday, Defeat Poverty DC volunteers canvassed Dupont Circle between the USA/England Soccer Broadcast and the Capital Pride Parade. Most of the soccer enthusiasts and Pride supporters we spoke with acknowledged the District’s poverty problem and were enthusiastic that a nonpartisan campaign was looking to make it a major election issue. Volunteers collected many names for our email list.
The common themes found among people were:
(1) People care about poverty;
(2) People are skeptical about local politicians’ competence to get things done, and;
(3) People want to see specific plans from candidates.
Volunteer Julia Nagle stated the following: “The D.C. residents that I spoke with were open and receptive to hearing more about the campaign. Both young and old, as well as black, white and Hispanic residents were eager to sign my petition. Hopefully we can collectively urge the candidates to address poverty during this electoral season.”
Defeat Poverty DC volunteers will be at many more social events and candidate forums in the future. We are always looking for more help. Sign up today to receive campaign updates about how you can further accountability and responsibility among our elected officials.
Tags: Adrian Fenty, Bryan Weaver, Canvass, Capital Pride, Clark Ray, DC candidates, DC politics, DC Poverty, Defeat Poverty DC, Delano Hunter, Dupont Circle, Harry Thomas, Jeff Smith, Jim Graham, Kwame Brown, Leo Alexander, Phil Mendelson, Poverty, Poverty in DC, Pride, Pride Parade, Tommy Wells, USA Soccer, USA v. England, Vincent Gray, Vincent Orange, Washington D.C., World Cup Soccer
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June 14th, 2010
By Walter Smith and Ted Trabue
Colbert I. King’s June 5 op-ed column posed a number of questions that candidates for D.C. office should answer. We would like to add one: What are the candidates’ plans for reducing the unacceptably high rate of poverty in our city?
The District has weathered the recession better than most cities. During the past year, the city added 10,700 jobs. Its population grew, and once-neglected neighborhoods continued to transform into regional destinations. Yet for too many residents, being at the center of one of the nation’s healthiest metropolitan economies hasn’t made a difference. In fact, while the number of jobs in the city was growing, unemployment still soared to the highest rate ever recorded, and 11,000 residents fell into poverty last year.
All told, the District’s poverty rate is estimated to have jumped from 17 percent to 19 percent in 2009 — the biggest single-year increase since 1995. This means that one in five District residents lives in poverty, including one in three children. With unemployment at 11 percent citywide (and nearing 30 percent in Ward 8), it is likely that even more District residents will fall into poverty in 2010.
All residents and businesses have a stake in addressing these shocking statistics. Helping the District’s low-income residents increase their education, literacy and job skills will enhance the quality of our workforce and make it easier for residents to qualify for employment with Washington’s businesses. It will also help D.C. children succeed in school, because families led by lifetime learners are better able to support their children academically. Increased work and wages among low-income residents will grow the city’s tax base, reduce high expenditures on social services and increase the number of residents patronizing Washington’s businesses. Just as important, reducing poverty will help reduce crime and bridge the sharp racial and geographic disparities that have long divided our city and region.
A new campaign – Defeat Poverty DC – is bringing together residents, advocacy groups, businesses and faith communities to make this problem a high priority for elected officials this year. The goal is to use the 2010 election season to engage the District’s elected leaders and candidates in discussions of what can be done to address poverty. In particular, the campaign will expect leaders to offer their proposals to make work possible for low-skilled D.C. residents; to make work pay enough to support a family; and to make basic needs such as housing and health care affordable.
All D.C. citizens and the businesses that serve them have a stake in combating poverty in the nation’s capital. Every candidate for office should have a plan for addressing it.
Walter Smith is executive director of D.C. Appleseed. Ted Trabue is president of the D.C. State Board of Education and executive director of the Green Builders Council of D.C
Tags: Adrian Fenty, Bryan Weaver, Clark Ray, Colbert King, DC, DC Appleseed, DC candidates, DC politics, DC Poverty, Defeat Poverty DC, Delano Hunter, Green Builders Council of D.C., Harry Thomas, Jeff Smith, Jim Graham, Kwame Brown, Leo Alexander, Phil Mendelson, Poverty, Poverty in DC, poverty rate increase, Ted Trabue, Tommy Wells, Vincent Gray, Vincent Orange, Walter Smith, Washington D.C., Washington Post
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June 7th, 2010
“There’s Washington, and then there’s D.C.”
I don’t remember where I heard this statement, but it has stuck with me ever since arriving in the District fresh from the Midwest three years ago. The physical separation of the comma between Washington and D.C. highlights the divide between two different worlds in our city.
“Washington is always hiring” is a mantra of many college career counselors across America. It refers not only to the federal government, but also the well-paying think tanks, interest groups and government contractors associated with the fed’s business. Unlike other recent college grads that moved here for work, I took my first job outside Washington, teaching adult basic education and GED classes in Northeast D.C.
Teaching adult learners astounded me. I witnessed the poverty and inequity of the District. Two-thirds of my students earned less than $15,000 per year, and the largest income group made less than $9,999 (46 percent). Aside from being low-income, my students were difficult to classify, with an extraordinary array of life experiences. I taught D.C. residents ranging from ages 18 into the 70s. They were an eclectic mix of working mothers and fathers, young adults, grandparents, the recently unemployed, and the chronically under or unemployed.
One thing most students had in common was the desire for a good, well-paying job. They worked hard with their studies to achieve that end despite juggling the wrenches tossed by life, which seemingly increase in weight as income falls. Many students were one hardship away from the streets.
I frequently gave supplemental work to students who missed class because they juggled attendance with circumstances such as uncertain housing, child care, and finding money for transportation to school. Several students came to morning class after working the night shift. Others who were unemployed spent many hours at school. Parents occasionally had to bring their kids for lack of child care. Others still had more spotty attendance due to struggles to pay bus fare, but were enthusiastic when they came.
My students’ determination amazed me. Despite their personal efforts, poverty retains a significant presence in D.C. and continues to rise. Tackling a problem this dynamic requires public action. I am happy to have now the opportunity to work with Defeat Poverty DC, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the weeks to come. Defeating poverty will not only help those in need, but also work to unite the worlds of Washington and D.C.
– Max Brauer
Tags: Adrian Fenty, Bryan Weaver, Clark Ray, DC, DC Poverty, Defeat Poverty DC, Delano Hunter, Harry Thomas, inequality, Jeff Smith, Jim Graham, Kwame Brown, Leo Alexander, Phil Mendelson, Poverty, Poverty in DC, Poverty on the Rise in the District, Tommy Wells, Unemployment 2009 & 2010, Vincent Gray, Vincent Orange, Washington D.C.
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