Wednesday, October 15

Discussing Poverty: Blog Action Day


There were blue tickets and there were red tickets.

Blue tickets for the kids whose families could afford a 30-cent lunch. Red for those who could not.

My ticket was red. And as red ticket holders, usually kids with large patches on secondhand pants, we lined up last as if a class system somehow existed within our public schools. Maybe it did. After lunch, most of us red ticket holders were ushered off to portable classrooms dubbed the "barracks." Education sometimes seemed optional.

Don't get me wrong. I was never afraid of missing a meal or going hungry. My grandparents, survivors of The Great Depression, were poor but understood priorities. Education and values, they said, are two things you can keep with you for life.

They were right. Even being enrolled one year at the Holy Redeemer Christian Academy in Milwaukee lasted a lifetime. It did for several reasons, but mostly because it removed the labels that had begun to become the ties that bind.

Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of bloggers from around the world are taking part to raise awareness about poverty. Blog Action Day, much like BloggersUnite, does a lot of good because it helps you stop and think.

Almost 40 million Americans are living in poverty.

Of course, thinking about it is not always enough. After that, the opportunity to turn words into action is up to you.

Since 1991, Copywrite, Ink. has donated time and resources to more than 60 nonprofit organizations with the hope of empowering people to help others by giving them a hand up. So, as a communicator, I could probably give you about a hundred different reasons for businesses to support their communities. But not today.

Suffice to say I believe that the children we help rise above poverty today will eventually grow to up to be the people who help others rise above poverty tomorrow. At least, I like to think so.

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9 comments:

Ellie on 10/15/08, 6:40 PM said...

This is a lovely post for Blog Action Day. It is so good to read heart felt words. Thanks for posting. So was the school you mentioned a positive experience?

JoJoBell on 10/16/08, 2:57 AM said...

Your post today got my attention, wonderfully written!

Rich on 10/16/08, 6:55 AM said...

@Elle

Thank you. And yes, the Holy Redeemer Christian Academy was a very positive experience. It was a strict environment, but they tested me and found that the public school system had missed some educational strengths. So the school challenged me in areas where I had aptitude and provided additional help in areas I did not.

The other benefit for me was that Holy Redeemer had created an environment where children where not predisposed to judge me based on my lack of father or the corrective shoes I wore for ten years to correct club feet. Remove the labels and you can set kids free.

@jojo

Thank you jojobell. Sometimes if we can touch even one person, then sharing an experience is worth it!

All my best to you both,
Rich

Dan Brantley on 10/16/08, 10:27 AM said...

Nice post. I remember the tickets for lunches. I don't remember different colors.
I agree with your point about labels. They help us make sense of the world, but too often as soon as we label something we put it aside and don't think about it again.

Ruthie Hochman on 10/16/08, 12:08 PM said...

Wow Rich, Short Sweet and simple... to the point... but poignant and heartfelt all the same... life... interesting... we live and learn so much to find our selves at the place or point of departure over and over again... repeated lessons I suppose... perhaps crash courses... who knows?

Brgds,

Ruthie

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, Rich. Keep up the good work!

angelin on 10/16/08, 9:15 PM said...

There are several ways to participate. The first and the most obvious one is to publish a post about poverty to discuss it from your point of view since the main idea of Blog Action Day is to discuss the topic of the year from as many viewpoints as possible. The second one is more tangible - participating blogs are offered to donate advertising revenue of one day to charities that deal with poverty or to finance a micro-loan on Kiva. And obviously, the more you can spread the word, the better.
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Angelinjones
Internet Marketing

Web-Betty on 10/17/08, 5:21 AM said...

An eloquent post. My lunch tickets were pink, and while I was always embarrassed to pull them out in the lunch line, even at a young age I understood that free lunch is better than no lunch at all.

Rich on 10/17/08, 7:32 AM said...

@Dan

It is possible that the different colors were localized.

Interestingly enough, I asked my son today about his school. They have an "express line" for those with money on their accounts and another line for kids who do not or receive assistance.

And yes, on labels you are exactly right. We learn them for the first 30 years or so and then we have to unlearn them.

@Ruthie

So glad to see you back and I hope you are well!

Yes, exactly right. We will keep facing the same lessons over and over until we get it right. I think we're also tested, and often those tests prep us for the next challenge.

@Anon

Thank you so very much.

@angelin

While I am not a Kiva participant, I think it is a fine program. More generally, I think we all help in whatever ways we can, often matched to skill sets and opportunities. Thank you.

@web-betty

Yes, I knew that too, of course. :)

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