In the richest country in the world, more than 49 million Americans live in poverty, and furthermore, an additional 97 million live ‘near poverty. That’s more than half of the US population, and according to the latest U.S. Census, statistical data proves poverty is only rising in America. Of course, America’s condition is only reflective of a bigger picture. Across the globe, the rich are getting richer and the poor continue to get poorer. As a result of rising global poverty, there exists an impoverished state of mind amongst marginalized youth from “low-income” neighborhoods. Of course, there are reasons for this apathy and despair.
According to the Pew Research Center, children under the age of 18 make up more than one-third of the poverty rate, and youth under the age of 24 make up just about half of the population. Unfortunately, in about every major U.S. city, at-risk youth encounter economic disparities and must overcome obstacles they shouldn’t have to face at such a young age. In about single statistical survey, the numbers show that just in about every category (household income, home value, unemployment, and most importantly, education), impoverished youth are overburdened with tough life chances and bleak life outcomes.
We bear witness to the fact that, For far too long, the plague of poverty has deprived, way too many, of our city’s people and places from peace, prosperity, and progress. We acknowledge that poverty dictates the quality of life and standards of living of individuals, communities, markets, and habitats in which it manifests its maliciousness. Time after time, poverty strips our young people of the dignity they deserve and robs them of their worthiness they merit. We recognize that poverty is the underlying cause hindering our young people’s ability to realize their full potential and thrive as productive members of society in the 21st century. Given the persistent plight of intergenerational poverty and with rising income inequality becoming mainstream, we fear that this predicament is jeopardizing the very future of our nation’s democracy. Indeed, the fight of century is the plight of poverty.