Confronting Poverty

How Congress Failed the Unemployed

At the start of July, the unemployment rate in the United States hovered around 9.5%. Businesses and families continue to face tremendous pressure to stay afloat during this economic crisis. There are currently nearly five workers actively searching for work for every job available. While politicians and economists tout the fact that we are starting to make steady growth, millions of Americans are still struggling to make ends meet.

Despite this harsh reality, in June Congress allowed unemployment benefits to expire for 1.2 million workers and has failed to rectify this situation by passing a jobs bill that provides state aid and safety net programs for the unemployed. This Congressional delay is short-sighted and damaging to out-of-work Americans and our national economy. Many beneficial programs were included in the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010 (H.R. 4213), including an extension on unemployment insurance, and funding for FMAP (federal matching funds for states' Medicaid programs), the National Housing Trust Fund (money allocated for the creation and renovation of affordable housing), and summer youth jobs programs.



03:51 PM Jul 15, 2010 - 0 comments permalink

Reflections on the JCPA Mission to Birmingham

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?


The JCPA's 3rd annual African-American/Jewish Community Leaders Mission was a reminder that hard work (sometimes excruciatingly hard work) is essential to making change.  This theme first presented itself at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI), on the mission's first full day.  The Institute's exhibit was massive and comprehensive.  It was in every way a testament to the heroic efforts of the civil rights foot soldiers, covering different methods of fighting segregation (marches, boycotts, court cases, etc.), showing examples of activism in every segregated state, and discussing the various areas of life impacted by segregation (voting, public transportation, public education and many more).  The efforts showcased took place over the course of several decades.



03:18 PM Jul 01, 2010 - 0 comments permalink

Putting an End to Homelessness

In lieu of Confronting Poverty next week, the JCPA encourages you to tune in to the White House's live broadcast unveiling their national strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness in America. See below for more information.

Child Nutrition Week of Action

As the school year comes to a close, many school-age children will start making plans to attend summer camp, go on vacation with their family, and while away the days with ice cream and swimming pools. But for millions of America's children, the end of the school year means the end of the school lunch program, school breakfast program, and nutritious snacks.

Out of the 19.4 million children receiving lunch assistance from September to June, just eleven percent access summer food programs. What happens to these children? Where do they go to access meals? And what, if anything, are they eating? The fact of the matter is the wonderful summer feeding programs that do exist are underfunded and therefore cannot reach all the children that would be eligible.

This is why the JCPA is participating in a Child Nutrition Week of Action. Through calls and letters to Congress, lobby visits with the White House and House of Representatives, and a Facebook campaign to raise awareness, we are showing the Jewish community's commitment to this important cause.



01:16 PM Jun 10, 2010 - 0 comments permalink

Witnesses to Hunger

1 in 4 children in the United States currently live in families that struggle to put food on the table. Still, the day-to-day struggles of these children and their parents is kept out of sight of many Americans. Unless you are one of the 17 million children who go without a nutritious meal each day, you may not fully understand the despair and hardship these families face. The Witnesses to Hunger project was created to bring the plight of hunger into focus.

Witnesses to Hunger is a Philadelphia-based project, started by the Drexel University School of Public Health, designed to show the faces and struggles of hunger in the United States. Forty mothers and caregivers of young children were provided with digital cameras to document the day-to-day lives of families living in poverty with food insecurity. As their website states "What these women know-and what their pictures show-is how hard it is to nourish a child when every day presents limited opportunities and impossible trade-offs: rent of medicine, heat or breakfast, diapers or fresh fruit." The photograph exhibit of the pictures taken during the project is traveling around the country, bringing the images of Philadelphia's poor to all Americans. To view their full photo gallery please go here.



05:41 PM May 27, 2010 - 0 comments permalink

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