Posts Tagged ‘systemic poverty’

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s declaration of “an unconditional War on Poverty.”

“Many Americans live on the outskirts of hope–some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity,” said President Johnson in his January 8, 1964, State of the Union address.

While 1 in 5 Alabamians and more than 1 in 4 children currently live below the federal poverty line, it is an issue we can make progress on. Americans have done it before. Between 1959 and 1973, we cut our national poverty rate nearly in half through an economy that worked for everyone and a strong set of programs that supported families when they struggled, including Head Start, Medicare, and TRIO college access programs.

However, we must be vigilant in our quest to ensure that every Alabamian can reach their full potential. Poverty won’t just go away; it’s something we must constantly and consistently work to reduce.

According to new research from the Half in Ten campaign, 70 percent of Americans would support a new effort to cut poverty in half within the next decade through investments in jobs, wages, health care, and education.

As President Johnson said, “the richest Nation on earth can afford to win [the war on poverty]. We cannot afford to lose it.”

Watch the 1964 State of the Union address below.  For its full text, click here.

Other Resources

Alabama Possible 2013 Data Sheet 

The War on Poverty Then and Now: Applying Lessons Learned to the Challenges and Opportunities Facing a 21st-Century America

50 Years After LBJ’s War on Poverty: A Study of American Attitudes About Work, Economic Opportunity, and the Social Safety Net

 The Unfinished War Part I & The Unfinished War Part II by Nicholas Lemann

Legacies of the War on Poverty by Martha J. Bailey & Sheldon Danziger

We agree: Alabama can lose the high poverty rate

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Today’s Tuscaloosa News has a great editorial today challenging the Alabama Commission to Reduce Poverty (of which I am the vice chair) to set goals and work with the legislature to reduce poverty in Alabama.  I couldn’t agree with the News’ editorial board and Ms. Levin-Epstein more.

As the Bible says, we will always have the poor. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a moral obligation to help the poor and minimize poverty wherever and whenever we can.

That was part of the message a national poverty reduction expert gave the Alabama Commission to Reduce Poverty at its second meeting in Montgomery this past week.

‘We should refuse to accept the perception that Alabama is always going to be poor,’ said Jodie Levin-Epstein, deputy director of the Center for Law and Social Policy based in Washington, D.C. ‘I believe the over-arching work of this commission is to not make it acceptable that Alabama is going to be at the bottom when it comes to poverty.’

Read the full text here.

Posted by: Kristina Scott