Charis welcomes co-authors Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox in conversation with Jamie Lackey for a discussion of Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending U.S. Poverty. Water. Food. Housing. The most basic and crucial needs for survival, yet 40 percent of people in the United States don't have the resources to get them. With key policy changes, we could eradicate poverty in this country within our lifetime--but we need to get started now.
Nearly 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line--about $26,200 for a family of four. Low-income families and individuals are everywhere, from cities to rural communities. While poverty is commonly seen as a personal failure, or a deficiency of character or knowledge, it's actually the result of bad policy.
Public policy has purposefully erected barriers that deny access to basic needs, creating a society where people can easily become trapped--not because we lack the resources to lift them out, but because we are actively choosing not to. Poverty is close to inevitable for low-wage workers and their children, and a large percentage of these people, despite qualifying for it, do not receive government aid.
From Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, Broke in America offers an eye-opening and galvanizing look at life in poverty in this country: how circumstances and public policy conspire to keep people poor, and the concrete steps we can take to end poverty for good.
In clear, accessible prose, Goldblum and Shaddox detail the ways the current system is broken and how it's failing so many of us. They also highlight outdated and ineffective policies that are causing or contributing to this unnecessary problem.
Every chapter features action items readers can use to combat poverty--both nationwide and in our local communities, including the most effective public policies you can support and how to work hand-in-hand with representatives to affect change.
So far, our attempted solutions have fallen short because they try to fix poor people rather than address the underlying problems. Fortunately, it's much easier to fix policy than people. Essential and timely, Broke in America offers a crucial road map for securing a brighter future.
Joanne Samuel Goldblum is CEO and founder of the National Diaper Bank Network, encompassing more than 200 member organizations that provide diapers and other basic needs to families across America. In 2018, she founded the Alliance for Period Supplies, which provides free hygiene products to the one in four people for whom menstruation means difficulty attending school and work. Joanne has spent her career working with and advocating for families in poverty. She has written op-eds for Washington Post, US News & World Report, and HuffPost. She has been an ABC Person of the Week and the subject of profiles by CNN, People, and many other outlets. Joanne is an inspiring and in-demand speaker. In 2007, she was chosen as one of 10 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leaders on the basis of her work to found the New Haven Diaper Bank.
Colleen Shaddox is a print and radio journalist and activist. Her publication credits include New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, America, and many more. She left daily newspapers when an editor reprimanded her for "writing too many stories about poor people" and went to work in a soup kitchen. She has had one foot in journalism and one in non-profits ever since. In states throughout the country, Colleen has worked on winning campaigns to get kids out of adult prisons, to end juvenile life without parole, and to limit shackling in juvenile courts. She is a frequently anthologized fiction writer. Her award-winning play, The Shakespeares, and other dramatic works have been performed around the country.
As Founder and CEO of Helping Mothers, Jamie Lackey oversees and manages volunteers, corporate groups, and partnerships; prepares grants and works with an active board of directors; and handles the day-to-day operations to move the agency forward.
She is the recipient of the United Way of Metro Atlanta’s first annual Spark award, which recognizes a local nonprofit organization with the most innovative strategy to impacting poverty. Jamie received a Master's in Social Work from the University of Georgia and a Bachelors in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. Lackey is a working mother of two and resides in Snellville, GA.
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FOREWORD INDIES FINALIST — POLITICAL & SOCIAL SCIENCES
NAUTILUS BOOK AWARDS SILVER MEDALIST — SOCIAL CHANGE & SOCIAL JUSTICE
ERIC HOFFER BOOK AWARD 1ST RUNNER UP — CULTURE & MONTAIGNE MEDAL NOMINEE
"A valuable resource in the fight against poverty." —Publishers Weekly