This morning I woke up super early (my body still thinks it's on the East coast) and went for a run around Hollywood. Almost immediately I passed a man who was curled up under the 101 overpass. I nearly stopped to offer to run back home and bring him food, but he was sleeping. I spent the rest of my run contemplating poverty in the United States. How many people passed this man and didn't give him a second thought? How many of those same well-adjusted citizens pat themselves on the back for donating to charities that send aid to third world countries?
Not that tremendous need doesn't exist in places outside the US, but we Americans are very quick to turn a blind eye to the injustice that runs rampant in our beloved country. 1 out of 10 Americans lives below the poverty line. The rate is higher in cities. 1 out of 3 people in Detroit lives below the poverty line. The numbers are staggering. And embarrassing. We claim to be a nation of abundance, a country of hard work and innovation, a land of hope, yet a tenth of our citizens cannot make enough money to support decent lives.
Something is amiss, America, when a person who works full time for all 52 weeks of the year on minimum wage only makes about $14,000 a year, which puts them just above the poverty line... before taxes. I don't claim to have the answers. But I think the first step in beginning to resolve this problem is recognizing that it exists.