It took me a while to finish this book.
I recommend it if you are unaware of how our foster system has developed over the years or have an interest in the topic.
Just … don’t expect happy.
It’s not Annie.
I’ve spent the past several weeks desperately hoping for an ending that might give me some sense of hope in our foster care system or in the way we respond to our children, particularly our children of color.
Our foster care system has always been broken and the last chapters of the book didn’t give any hope that things might be getting better. It did paint the picture of how children born into cycles of poverty are living.
The picture is devastating. And infuriating.
I don’t quite understand how a first world country that wants to claim religious freedom while openly judging non-Christian faiths can throw children away or simply ignore that millions of our children are living in poverty and still act superior to other countries. But we don’t want to give them handouts. Their parents should be more responsible. Less lazy. They should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
But dammit, do we not realize that when you enslave an entire population of people for hundreds of years, they don’t have any freakin bootstraps to pull??? My God, how are we still not getting this? This country has done nothing to correct the massive devastation that its ravaged on our Black citizens. Ok, maybe not nothing. I suppose Affirmative Action was a well-meaning attempt and it has done some good. But for the most part, we still seem to believe that there was some sort of statute of limitations on the impact of slavery and now things should be good and we shouldn’t have to acknowledge it anymore.
I don’t give a good damn that I or my parents or even my great grandparents never owned slaves. If I am in any position to do something, then it is my damn responsibility to do something to make the world better. It is the responsibility of every damn one of us. Because we are HUMAN BEINGS. This is our world. Whatever you believe is or isn’t coming after this, this is our world RIGHT NOW. WHY are we NOT trying to make it better? Why are we so stuck in this “not my circus, not my monkeys” mentality? It’s EVERYONE’S damn circus! Help get it under control!!!
(Sidenote: Stop with the circuses. Really? You get entertainment from watching wild animals beaten into submission so they can spend the rest of their lives jumping through rings of fire? I’ll be circling back to this one in a future post, I’m sure. Let me get back on topic here. I’m irate and I need to get it out. But really, just stop going to the damn circus. And zoos.)
1 in 5 children in the United States is living in poverty (US Census Bureau, 2017).
ONE IN FIVE
These kids are sleeping on roach-infested floors. They’re walking home through violent neighborhoods, if they’re lucky enough to even have a home. For many of them, the only real food they get is the free lunch at school.
Over 40% of those living in poverty are Black or Hispanic. Only about 8% are non-Hispanic White (US Census Bureau, 2017).
You see the issue here?
Look, I don’t know what the solution is. I can’t make people care about the “other.” The kids that don’t look like their own. The people that don’t look like them.
And I know that most of my people, those of you that are most likely to read this, do care. And you probably don’t know what to do, either. Or you know exactly what to do and you’re bumping up against a system that is designed to keep people exactly where they are.
But I do know this. We have to do SOMETHING. I HAVE to do SOMETHING.
And so, I will continue my desperate search for a career that will allow me to do that something while also trying to live a life outside of poverty myself. And I will continue to share what little I know in hopes that others with more power will do something.
And I will continue to invest my time in organizations that are doing something. My Girls on the Run might be the key to help even a few of these girls to avoid the trap of poverty and find their way to a powerful, successful, happy life. And I’d love to get involved in Let Me Run to help boys grow into responsible, successful, happy men.
I just know that I can’t keep learning about the tragic realities that FAR TOO MANY of our children, OUR children, face every damn day. It is unacceptable.
And now I’m going to go read something frivolous so I can sleep tonight.
Reference (because I honestly don’t make this stuff up just to have something to be indignant about)
US Census Bureau. (2017). Income and poverty in the United States: 2016. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2017/demo/p60-259.html.