Eliminate poverty

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2005

A recent nationwide poll shows that folks over the age of 34 years old are basically unprepared for the changing face of America.

The survey was undertaken by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

The news is disturbing because demographics are already shifting, making minorities the majority in four states – Texas, California, New Mexico and Hawaii.

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New York, Maryland, Georgia, Mississippi and Arizona, in the next year to two years, officials predict are going to become majority minority.

As the demographics shift, it will be essential for citizens to have more understanding of other cultures, and to be more accepting of others.

Hurricane Katrina showed that to change race relations, we also have to address the needs of the poor and eliminate poverty in this country.

Poverty is not a black or white issue. It is an issue of basic human dignity and rights being given to every citizen equally.

According to the 2004 U.S. Census, the official poverty rate in 2004 was 12.7 percent, up from 12.5 percent in 2003. (The U.S. Census Bureau defines poor families as those with cash incomes of less than $14,680 a year for a family of three – or $18,810 for a family of four. In 2003, the average poor family had an income of $8,858, or $738.00 per month.)

In 2004, 37 million people were in poverty.

According to the census, there are 13 million children living in poverty in the United States. There are approximately 3.5 million people over the age of 65 who are among our poor.

Alabama is among the top states in the percentage of its population living below the poverty line – 15.1 percent, placing it at No. 8 on the list. (Arkansas, New Mexico and Mississippi top the list).

As we seek ways to address the issue of race, we must also address the needs of the poor.

The National Retail Federation also released results of a survey

– of 4,209 consumers conducted by Bigresearch on Friday and Saturday, that showed total weekend spending from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday totaled $27.8 billion. If we as a nation can spend that kind of money on holiday shopping, surely we can find a way to eliminate poverty.