Progressives have been pioneering innovative solutions to the problem of poverty for centuries, but sadly a large proportion of the world and America still lives below the poverty line. Lower income communities in America are plagued by gangs and drugs that besiege them night and day, and as if that isn’t enough, minorities in these communities are frequently victims of police racism. Young adults in minority communities are often sent to prison and get criminal records, which limits their opportunities for life. Women are systematically repressed in America, and still earn significantly less than men. In addition, women are grossly under-represented in Math, Science and Engineering degrees, which limits their career options even further. All of these factors reinforce the vicious cycle of poverty, and the task of breaking this cycle seems insurmountable to many. However, progressives have highlighted many practical steps we can all take to end poverty once and for all.
Disadvantaged youths in poor areas and developing countries have little hope in today’s capitalistic profit driven-world. In a world ruled by corporations, uneducated minorities have no value and privileged white children from two-parent households are swiftly escorted into the higher ranks of society. It’s all part of what economists call the “Chain Effect”. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and single mother households get lower grades because of poverty, and therefore do not get accepted into top colleges, which limits their opportunities in the workplace. We simply have to break this chain. Colleges need to be forced to accept students with lower grades so that they have an opportunity to move up in society. If we limit college to only those from privileged backgrounds, then there is absolutely no way for poor people to move up in the world. College elitism is not only unfair – it is also racist and sexist, as it leads to huge racial and gender disparities in education, which then filter through into the economy.
Progressives have been very active in supporting youth programs that give hope to disadvantaged communities. These programs include music classes, sports lessons and general fun and games to give talented but disadvantaged youths a chance to move up in life. There have been innovative programs that teach youths in South America how to play a musical instrument. This allowed youths who had never even seen a musical instrument before to play at a professional level, which was heart warming to see. Other programs have taken a different approach by giving free soccer lessons to kids in Africa – not only does this give them the opportunity to learn a new sport, they are also learning coordination and social skills, and who knows, maybe one of these kids will end up in the Premier League in 10 years’ time. You never know what is going to happen when you give hope to a child – these experiences could be the turning point in many of these children’s lives. I’m also a big fan of youth talent shows in poor American neighborhoods – it’s simply amazing how much talent you find in disadvantaged communities when you provide them with an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.
A big part of the problem of poverty is that people are simply unaware of extent of the issue, and simply stand by while governments ignore the people who need them the most. Liberals have been proactive in spreading awareness of poverty, to encourage people to pressurize their governments to do something about it. The Live 8 concert is probably the best example of an awareness raising event, which saw pop giants from all over the world come together to give one of the most kick-ass awareness concerts we have ever seen. The Live 8 concert was strictly about awareness, so no money was raised and the concerts were free, as music should be. As a result of the Live 8 concerts, third world governments were relieved of billions of dollars’ worth of crippling debt and received a doubling in foreign aid, which allowed them to get back on their feet and start fighting poverty again.
So far we’ve made a lot of progress, but all of this costs money, so we desperately need more people to write to their congressmen and ask them to fund more of these programs. As the west experiences economic turbulence, we must not forget about those who need us the most. We must keep doing what we are doing, as people all around the world are counting on us. It is up to us to be vigilant, and make sure that nobody gets left behind in the progressive revolution.