Personal Poverty Reduction: Breaking the Chains of Individual, Institutional, and Internalized Poverty



I'm starting a not so private campaign. The many labors of the late welfare activist Johnnie Tillmon remind me that, more than thirty years later, I am not alone. I, too, am a woman of color; a povertized woman; a fat woman; a middle-aged woman; and I'm living on very low-income government subsidy. 


Tillmon's analysis, "Welfare Is a Woman's Issue," startling as it was in 1972, carries much truth, today: in the United States, as in every other country, if you're a person labeled into any one of those categories, you are effectively "less" of a person, except to be noted as a statistic. Like the homeless who fall prey to homicide, wives who are raped, and the children of Mexicanos stolen by ICE program impostors, I have become one of the invisible, who ranks only as a statistic.


At any rate, that's the endless echolalia, from some circles.


From where I sit, I'm all I've got, which means the onus of responsibility for creating a viable reality out of this current disaster zone is on me: my voice must be clear and strong.


In my youngest child's eyes, I'm the center of the known universe—and that means putting a rush on the creation of a viable reality, while ending the current disaster zone, for her: I must become unrelenting, in my pursuit of equity, for our family.


Johnnie Tillmon did it with deep humility and grace. I'm going to invite her spirit to guide me on this venture, today. There are a legion of other women I'll be inviting to this cause, as I continue.


I have much ahead of me.


And I have much to say . . .


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