Tuesday, January 09, 2018

January is Poverty Awareness Month

by Selina Johnson, Wylam Branch Library

How did you begin the New Year? There are some who went out to celebrate with drinking champagne and eating a variety of delicious foods with family and friends. Others watched the ball drop in New York from their television in the comfort of home. Unfortunately, there were those who did not have such options. They awaited word as to if there would be a chance for them to get out of the cold and into a shelter for the night.

January is Poverty Awareness Month. It is a month-long initiative to increase awareness and call attention to the steady growth of poverty in the United States. So many people are victims of circumstances that have brought them to a world with little to no income and that triggers limited access to resources. Most have formed preconceived notions of the poor as being lazy, mentally ill, disheveled, drug addicted; however, a day in the shoes of someone living in the clutches of poverty would provide a better understanding of their world. There are millions of working poor who may not be homeless but fall at or below the poverty line and are a crisis away from being without a home and basic necessities.

All of us want a better quality of life but sometimes life simply gets in the way. Family break ups, loss of jobs, natural disasters, illnesses, and addiction are just a few of the circumstances that will render anyone to hopelessly spiraling into poverty. So, this month take some time out to get a better understanding of the plight of those who are confronted with poverty each day. Listed below are a few titles that you can check out at the Birmingham Public Library.

Poverty and Hunger by Louise Spilsbury
Poverty in America: Cause or Effect? by Joan Axelrod-Contrada
The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky
Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America by Ella Howard.
Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc.: How the Working Poor Became Big Business by Gary Rivlin

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