Moral Monday is on the road again this week, this time gathering voices in Manteo, Burnsville, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The focus in Charlotte will be poverty, and if you don't believe poverty is a problem in your city or town, think again. As noted in this piece from the Observer, things are tough all over.
In this city of bankers and others of affluence, 64,000 people live on an income that’s roughly $11,500 a year for a family of four. That’s considered extreme poverty. In all, more than 140,000 Mecklenburg County residents – 15.6 percent of the county’s population – live in poverty.
Worse, a good chunk of the poor are children. Twenty-two percent of Mecklenburg’s children live in poverty, and an astounding 40 percent of its children of color are poor.
The center’s research says Charlotte area is one of five urban areas with “the most intense, deep poverty” in the state – Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Winston-Salem are the others. Today, two-thirds of the state’s concentrated poverty Census tracts are in urban rather than rural areas, Nichol notes. Mecklenburg and Greensboro have the largest shares of that poverty. In 2000, Mecklenburg had 16 tracts of deep poverty. By 2010, that number had zoomed to 26.
This is not news to Beverly Howard, executive director of Loaves and Fishes, which provides food to people in need. “Our numbers have risen substantially,” she said. “And they keep growing.”
Among those most in need? Children. “Of the 126,000 (we feed), 48 percent are children,” she said
But does it really have to be this way?
Poverty is the symptom, our economic system is the problem. It's time to eradicate poverty, even if it means raising taxes on the rich. Until all have plenty, none deserve so much.