Phree to earn an "honest" living
I don’t often watch the news. I prefer the news paper and online news sites, particularly international news websites. Given that most of my day is spent working with individuals who’ve had horrible crimes committed against them, I’d prefer to limit my post work exposure to the negative. With newspapers and websites I get to pick and choose what I expose myself to. I like to think of it as creating a sense of balance for myself.
Recently however while perusing a local news site, which I do on occasion, I came across an article that left me utterly baffled. The article was about a group of people in Philadelphia known as “ the discouraged.” The article covered an interview with a man named Bryant, an older black man who was once one of the best guitarist in the nation. Bryant shared “the discouraged” were a group of people living in north Philadelphia who worked odd jobs. They fixed homes, did landscape work, housekeeping, helped with the elderly, baby sat, etc. They were committed to earning an income but not committed to earning it through illegal means. They were committed to surviving in a way that still allowed them to keep their dignity even in their poverty.
I’m not going to lie, when I read the article I cried. Of all of the labels to bestow on a group of people “the discouraged” to me is horrible. It’s condemning and speaks death instead of life. It suggests that regardless of their commitment to earn an “honest” living they would never get out. They were doomed to remain in one of the nation’s poorest districts where the highest SSI check amount received is $674.00 a month.
That didn’t and doesn’t sit well with me. And I have spent the past few days thinking of just how Phreedum will help “the discouraged.” We haven’t yet developed a master plan, but we’ve been doing research. We came across the Basic Needs Fund in Philadelphia and we hope that’s a way to start. But Phreedum is committed to “the discouraged”. Phreedum is committed to hope for without hope what kind of life can one really be phree to live?
For more information about “the discouraged” visit http://www.philly.com/philly/news/special_packages/20101228_PHunger29.html