The Lingering Effects of Poverty

In Just Mercy, Stevenson discusses his commitment to defending those who cannot defend themselves due to a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is poverty.

Racial and ethnic health disparities persist in American society despite awareness on the part of elected officials and community leaders. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Minority populations experience significantly poorer health as a direct result of poverty. The poverty threshold for a family of three is $19,078; a reality for 43.1 million Americans. African American children are three times more likely to live in poverty than Caucasian children. American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian families are more likely than Caucasian and Asian families to live in poverty.

Stevenson concludes that “the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice”. What does this statement mean? What is poverty? What is justice? How does poverty affect people of color and their communities? How does poverty affect health throughout the lifespan? What are the lingering effects of poverty?

Readers will approach these topics with different knowledge and experiences, depending on their backgrounds. In this discussion, all are invited to share their reactions and reflections in a safe and trusting community.

Supplementary materials to guide the discussion:

 

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