Poverty has suddenly appeared on the nation’s radar. Business magazines carry articles on economic disparity, newspapers report on studies that reveal a pool of permanent poverty, and community colleges are renewing their efforts to attract and retain students from low-income families. All welcome news for those of us who have been working on reducing poverty issues for years.
The June 10 issue of The New York Times Magazine featured articles on poverty and inequality, including a five-page article on Ruby Paynewritten by Paul Tough. It’s a great thing to have the attention of people who care about poverty on us because we are making a difference. While most of the attention is that of appreciation and accolades, we also receive criticism. As a leader in our field, we know this comes with the territory and welcome the opportunity to answer questions and to understand those who have different points of view. We think apathy is worse than criticism and prefer people to be passionate—even if we don’t always agree on everything.
We are pleased to present our newly articulated “Platform for Economic Justice.” This platform shares our core values as an organization and our methodology for ending poverty and building economic stability. In this platform you will find 12 planks: Each plank is a concept very important to the way we interact with you, your organization, and your clients.
In the following weeks we will go into further depth explaining the various planks. We look forward to your questions and comments.
About the Author/Consultant: Phil DeVol, of Marengo, Ohio, has been consulting on poverty issues since 1997 and is co-author of Bridges Out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities. He works with organizations and communities to redesign programs which ensure sustainability and better serve people in poverty. Philip is the author of Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World: Building Your Resources for a Better Life, a workbook that combines Dr. Ruby K. Payne’s work on the hidden rules of class, research on knowledge transfer, and the knowledge of participants living in poverty. Philip served as director of a substance abuse treatment facility for nearly 20 years. He consults for aha! Process, Inc.