Politics, Poverty and Health
We had 15 people join us in conversation. I share my gratitude for Vina Clark, who brought a group of students from Main Campus. Two tables were full of folx engaged in lively discussion and, as in the past, I would like to share some of the points of view. Each table focused on different aspects of the topic.
Table 1 seems to have begun with poverty. Many questions were asked and addressed about poverty. The role of government and employers seems to have created some intense discussion. Most seem to believe that employers do not show care and concern of their employees and are only concerned about their profits. It was suggested that perhaps if the employees wanted to be more productive and happier, they could start caring more for each other, organize together to change the workplace policies that they do not think are fair.
The conversation shifted to communities and how to improve them. It was suggested that people have to work together to first emphasize the good things they have and that they are proud of and then work together to change the bad parts.
This led into the idea of where you live affects how you live. If you do not feel safe and your home is not dry or is falling apart, you will have a poor outlook on everything around you. When one has to worry about where to live, it leaves them with less energy to work on anything else. It was mentioned that Knoxville does not keep public housing in good repair. (I can hear some of you now!)
Services in a community matters and the store closing times in East Knoxville came up. Companies that stay open 24/7 in other parts of Knoxville close at 8 or 9 o’clock in East Knox. It was wondered whether this sends a message about the whole community. It was noted that this makes it harder on the people who live in this community and sends the message that they can’t be trusted.
And finally, the topic of minimum wage jobs came up. Some noted that the younger people are not satisfied with minimum wage jobs and this dissatisfaction contributes to illegal activity. Also noted was the fact that minorities have to put up with more abuse to keep a decent job. Examples of this were discussed by those with this kind of experience. The “good ole boy network” made up of Knoxville employers was something very hard to contend with and makes it harder for minorities in the workplace.
Table 2 began with politics and policy.
Poverty and health are very reliant on education and political policy needs to address this. Another said the political policies support the growth of poverty and this leads to all other social ills connected to poverty. People in poverty have a sense of powerlessness, no voice, consequently, they don’t participate in the political arena. One of the conversationalists brought home the point of policies that created social problems when police cordoned off a section of a block because of violent and illegal activity and the homes outside the cordoned off area were unaffected by the police action and yet were the same as the rest of the block before the action.
To shorten this up, I will share the closing remarks from Table 2: One said that her interest increased in politics and social issues and whatâ€™s going on in general. Another commented that it was very interesting to hear the different points of views during the conversation. Following this, it was noticed how many different points of view there are on any given subject. Politics became more interesting, and even seemed possible to participate in as one of the participants noted. And finally, â€œThis has been very energizing. How can I get more involved?â€
So there you have it! Keep conversing folx!
Respectfully submitted by someone Working for Peace (what a great boss!),