Who looks out for the poor? No one, claims Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., and now the civil rights activist is seeking a White House commission on “poverty, malnutrition and human need.”
Recently expressed on his website, Jackson said that only the president has the platform to ignite a debate about poverty and that Congress has the “moral burden” to support him and decrease the millions who are currently in desperate need of help.
Additionally, on Monday at Ohio University, Jackson reinforced his new initiative by telling the crowd that no one has put a focus on poor people as much as President Lyndon B. Johnson and that it’s time for another “war on poverty.”
His recent efforts haven’t come without reason, however.
Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Census Bureau announced that in 2010 the nation’s poor swelled to a record 46.2 million, up from 43.6 million in 2009. Additionally, African-Americans had the highest percentage of people living in poverty, 27.4 percent, compared to 26.6 percent of Latinos, 12.1 percent of Asians and 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
“Poor people are invisible in our nation’s capital. Republicans defend the affluent, calling them ‘job creators,’ Democrats champion the middle class and [the] boldest stand with ‘working families.’ The poor go without mention,” Jackson writes.
He blames the “great recession” as the immediate cause of poverty, but Jackson also believes that poverty has been rising for the past 30 years and says that many people cannot get out of poverty because they are so entrenched in it.
He cites that the poor are less likely to have access to transportation that might help them get a job; they are less likely to have access to affordable groceries; they are more likely to go to an under-funded school, where more than likely the best teachers have fled, and the working poor are more likely to be in debt and live paycheck to paycheck.
As a part of his new mission, Jackson says that he will contact every level of government in his campaign, but right now he’s “starting with the people.”
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(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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