Casualties of War
Throughout American history no war has endured as long as our war on poverty, first coined in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The enemy is poverty; the mission was clear, identify the root causes of poverty in each community and develop local strategies that eliminate the barriers that keep people from becoming self-sufficient.
Throughout the 51 years since the creation of Community Action Agencies, commissioned to develop anti-poverty strategies, millions of people have received services and many have in fact become self-sufficient, free from government dependence. Millions more continue to remain in poverty. Much like the Caste system of India, there is evidence that here in America inequality tends to be framed as an economic issue. I’m sure some may be appalled to think that America’s poor could be compared to those in the Caste System, but as I see it, we tend to stigmatize the poor in this nation as people who cannot achieve and are in a separate category. Some people have even implied that being poor is a choice. I contend that is a fallacy. In my experience, when we offer people with hope, realistic opportunity and resources, they respond enthusiastically and oftentimes are able to take the next step bringing them closer to a better quality of life, with less dependence on government.
Here in Chelsea, we have before us a proposal by the Chelsea Housing Authority to enable 96 public housing tenants to reside in a new development that will not differentiate economic status. A rare opportunity to break the stigma that contorts efforts for a better quality of life. I call upon our local leaders to work toward finding solutions to the issues that stand before us at the Innes Development and to work with a single purpose knowing that these efforts will provide comfort, hope and opportunity to those who have less. I fully support the project.
Robert S. Repucci