Friday, April 11, 2014

"It doesn't matter if you're Black or White"...unless you're Black or White

I have recently been doing a lot of reflection about the obvious racial and socioeconomic educational inequalities in the UK, more specifically London. I have taught different grade levels, in different Burroughs and different courses for nearly a school year. I have seen a few positive aspects of the British educational system, however, the negative greatly outweighs the positive. International teachers do not need to be qualified in England to hold a permanent classroom teaching position, but most schools who are willing to hire non-qualified British teachers are the schools with a lower socioeconomic student population, and adversely students who are "minority" or immigrants. This is very similar to the American "Charter School" trend, where many states do not mandate Charter Schools to hire certified/qualified teachers. When I worked at a Charter School in Philadelphia I was one of three Reading/Language Arts teachers, and the only one to be a certified teacher. People do not go to unqualified doctors, or accept unqualified pilots to fly a commercial plane, so why do many developed nations allow non-qualified teachers to teach their "disadvantaged" student population?

Upon deeper inquiries I have discovered that most public schools in London serve the less fortunate students, students who come from poor households, broken homes, or are considered immigrants/refugees even if they were born in England. The "White flight" of urban cities in America can ring true in the British education system, where the more affluent, Caucasian students are privileged to attend outstanding private schools, while the minority and underprivileged students are corralled into over populated, disinterested academic institutions. I had a 10th grade student in the Fall who was born and raised in England tell me, in his broken English, that he is not British, but Romanian. He lived in England his entire life, but as a result of being placed in all English as a Second language courses throughout his education he can barely speak English, doesn't relate to the British culture and lacks access to necessary Math and Science courses that could lead him on a brighter path. The school placed behaviorally challenged students, many of whom were from African or Caribbean descent, in my ESL class because they "had nowhere else to put them". Instead of these students being mainstreamed with the rest of the English speaking, British born student population, they were segregated in a trailer behind the school for half of their day relearning basic English (from an American) with students who were learning English for the very first time. The school did not want to waste their resources on correcting the misguided behavior, and did not want to invest time into building the students up. I left that school because an administrator would tell the students that they "were animals who deserved to be taught in cages", and make them stand outside in the rain at her mercy.

One of the more positive aspects of the British education system is that all public schools are set up and funded similarly, regardless of the location of the school. Primary schools all have Interactive White Boards, laptops, and most have Ipads. The basic foundation gives all children a perceived equal opportunity with similar resources, regardless of their race or socioeconomic standing. This is in direct contrast to the American education system, where much of the school funding comes from property taxes. If the local properties are worthless, then the schools receive less funding, have less resources, and less teachers. Situations like Trenton, NJ happen where the high school is battling relentless mold, asbestos, a caving roof, less than half of the student population is proficient is basic math and the city has the lowest high school graduation rate in New Jersey, despite Trenton being the state capitol. Ten minutes down the road is one of New Jersey's top public school districts, and a high school that is ranked amongst the top in the country. I had the privilege of attending that high school. They offered countless foreign languages, college board approved AP courses, advanced literacy, mathematics and science courses, and many students graduate to become extremely successful in their adulthood, and taking advantage of opportunities (such as myself) to travel the world.

Philadelphia is another example of the perfect storm. The city shut down over 40 public schools in the last few years causing classroom overcrowds, a brain drain of good teachers, little to no resources and under funding for the remaining schools. The students are left with no libraries, no physical education, no AP courses, no advanced classes, and underpaid and angry teachers. The students impacted by this are overwhelmingly minority and poor students, which propagates the racial inequalities in both education and financial.The city of Philadelphia is more interested in investing into a $400 million dollar prison system than educating their youth.

All developed nations have issues with their education system, some more than others. China is a great example of inequality amongst Chinese minorities, and the socioeconomic gap between students is just as large compared to their Western counterparts. Just like their democratic friends, China's educational inequality is rooted in educational policies or lack thereof. According to  this Oxford Journal, "There is a great disparity in the quantity and quality of education that urban and rural children receive. Moreover, there is inequality in access to education within rural China based mainly on the income and educational attainment of households and on the locality." Quality of education is very important, but when there is no investment in the underprivileged population of any nation then they are locked out of achieving financial success, which in turn makes them a depended on the government. To me, churning out less socially welfare dependent people is more beneficial for a nation's government because it is cheaper, but it seems that no one makes policies keeping the future in mind.

In 2012, the top 1% of US earners collected 19.3% of household income, breaking a record previously set in 1927. The financial inequality, and inadvertently racial inequality is worse now than before the Civil Rights movement. It is worse now than since the Jim Crow laws, which legalized segregation in America. This should be an appalling fact. I came across an article outlining 14 Disturbing Stats About Racial Inequality in American Public Schools. The two facts that stood out the most to me were that "Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements" and that "Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students." I have witnessed both of these occurrences. On a weekly basis more than one of my students of color in Philadelphia was suspended;  I can say the same for in London as well. Roughly 40% of teachers that I have worked with on three different continents were not certified teachers and gave a sub par performance at best. This New York Times article, "School Data finds Pattern of Inequality Along Racial Lines" further outlines the discrepancies of teacher quality to the student population. They discuss how "black, Latino, American Indian and Native Alaskan students are three times as likely as white students to attend schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers." First year teachers may exude enthusiasm for their new career, however they typically lack classroom management skills, and the experience that a seasoned teacher brings into the classroom. Also noteworthy, is that via the alternate route program in many American states an individual with any university degree only needs to take a ten month teacher course (and pass the necessary Praxis exams) to become a certified teacher. This is in extreme contrast to other developed nations where individuals are required to take 2 - 4 years of academic courses to become a classroom teacher. One can conclude that first year American teachers, compared to first year teachers in other nations, are not as prepared due to the lack of extensive training and support. The author also points out that teachers who work at a school with a higher concentration of black and Latino students earn at least $5,000 less than their counterparts in a predominantly Caucasian school. British schools have a similar disparity as their teacher pay scale is loosely "suggested" and not often followed as a permanent guideline, but rather is up to the initial negotiations in the job interview between the administration and teacher candidate.

Pennsylvania is trying to combat under qualified educators by only allowing a teacher with a Level I teaching certificate to have 6 years to obtain a Level II teaching certificate, however, after those 6 years if a teacher does not earn a masters degree (which they can't do without going into debt) or hasn't worked at a reputable school they will lose their certification entirely. This goes back to racial and socioeconomic inequality, because if an underpaid urban teacher cannot afford a graduate degree and the schools are too underfunded to assist them, then they will lose their qualifications after six years regardless.

Ironically, this week President Barack Obama and his three predecessors; Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush met at the LBJ Library to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or gender. George W. Bush, in his eloquently spoken way was quoted as saying,  The "soft bigotry of low expectations strips disadvantaged students of a strong education." This is a bit impudent coming from the man who proposed and signed into law the "No Child Left Behind Act", which directly correlates to the increase of falsified records, No Fail policies and lack of quality education in exchange for "teaching to the test". Low expectations were further engrained in schools serving minorities as a direct result to his educational policies. As mediocre and failing schools faced losing government funding they implemented No Fail policies creating massive grade inflation and falsifying standardized test scores. In inner cities across America there are illiterate, below grade level students with 3.0 - 4.0 GPAs, regardless of if they passed a single test or turned in a single assignment. Many of these schools only have an A, B and C system, where a D or an F isn't even in the system for report cards. Arguably, these young adults could then become a burden on society or incarcerated and help generate a profit for the for-profit prison systems. As Bush was criticized for his brain child law, he replied it "eventually requires adjustment" and "No law is perfect". Twelve years after the law took effect there are still large gaps in education between whites and minorities and increased efforts to privatize public school systems. This farcical law has unfortunately been adopted in countries such as Canada and England, where students equally do not fear the idea of failing, and will just be pushed into the next grade until they age out of public school and become the problem of someone else, i.e society.

What do the U.S., China Serbia and Rwanda have in common?
Income inequality!

The U.S. ranks closer to China, Serbia and Rwanda than any other country in the developed world when it comes to income inequality.

"Everything in America is so stratified by class now. We have the 93rd level of income inequality in the world. You're already seeing highway lanes that are for pay and ones that aren't." Adam McKay, American screenwriter, director, comedian, and actor.

Has the Civil Rights Act actually accomplished anything within the 50 years that it has been signed?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

History Repeats Itself Time After Time

Having been privileged enough to grow up in arguably one of the most diverse areas of the country, children I went to school with were from origins of all walks of life. The cul-de-sac I live on is like a mini-U.N with family backgrounds from China, India, Ireland, Turkey, Italy, etc. The school district nourished multi culturalism by providing a host of after school clubs, and offering several different languages. I am sure racism occurred, but it was not an issue woven into the school culture, unlike other parts of the country, which made adjusting to college in North Carolina all the more difficult. 

I encountered several racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic people while attending East Carolina University. At times I thought I was walking into pages of my high school history text book, where you read about the atrocities of extreme racism in American and World history. A philosophy professor told my class that the Holocaust never happened, and it was the “liberal media” which exaggerated the atrocities of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cronies. I am not sure how this professor could explain the extermination of 11 million people; then again, he probably believed that was an exaggeration too. I was asked to join some friends for the Raleigh Gay Pride Parade. I was stunned beyond all belief when I saw hundreds of bible thumping Christian extremists throwing rocks at people, holding up very mean signs and shouting through megaphones, all the while the police stood by and refused to intervene. There is a laundry list of examples of racism that I witnessed, but the one that stands out the most is when a professor told my small class on the first day that it was going to be the best class he will ever teach in his X amount of years of teaching because there were no “N word” students in it. I am pretty sure my jaw actually dropped open. I reported him to the director of the department, who told me that professors tend to be quirky and to either deal with it or drop his class. 

I never had to be told that discrimination is not to be tolerated because it was never even an issue. That is just common sense, which is not so common. My resume is sprinkled with teaching experience in an affluent New Jersey High School, Philadelphia inner city Charter school, a bilingual Chinese middle school, a British Columbia offshore Chinese school and now a diverse British junior school. I have traveled to 9 countries in the last 7 years, and without fail have still encountered the most closed minded people in the U.S.

We often read stories of racism in the news, or see videos gone viral of police brutality. These stories seem to have become a permanent fixture in American society; George Zimmerman who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teen and then was found not guilty, Joe Rickey Hundley who slapped a toddler on a plane after telling the mother to "shut that *N-word* baby up”, and most recently Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman being called a “thug” throughout various media outlets despite him being a Stanford graduate, and highly educated with an admirable work ethic. I decided to look up the actual definition of the word "thug" in an Oxford Dictionary, because if anything will have the proper definition it will be an Oxford dictionary. I found that a thug is "a violent person, especially a criminal". It can be used as an adjective in the form of "thuggish", or as an adverb in the form of "thuggishly". I am still scratching my head as to why Mr. Sherman was referred to as a "thug" so often in the media because is he neither a violent person nor a criminal. His only crime in the media is being an African-American male.

Be prepared to have your mind blown by the following statistics:

According to the American Leadership Forum, one in three African-American boys born in 2001 stands a lifetime risk of going to jail and in 2007, one in every 15 black children had a parent in prison. According to Ohio State University law professor, Michelle Alexander, there are more African-American men in prison, on probation or on parole in the US now than there were enslaved in 1850. Almost one in 10 young black men are behind bars. In New York and California, state data suggest African-Americans are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana related charges than Caucasians. African-Americans make up about 12% of the U.S. population - and about 44% of America's prison inmates.

While teaching in Philadelphia I had learned that 40 plus schools were being shut down due to an apparent "lack of funding". Most of these closings, if not all, affected the poorest children in and around the city. The real kick in the teeth is that the city has decided to build a massive prison outside of the city costing tax payers nearly $400 million. My taxes were extremely high while working in Philadelphia due to a specific city tax, a Pennsylvania state tax and then of course a New Jersey state tax because I was employed in two different states while working two concurrent jobs. Somehow the elected officials believe by laying off thousands of educators, closing the doors to dozens of schools, diminishing the quality of education for thousands of students who have a lower socioeconomic status is justifiable because they need to beef up the availability of space to imprison the thousands of young black "perpetrators". An environment is essentially being manufactured so the less educated, and poorer populace can be directly fed into the penal system. It is almost like the politicians are promoting a life of crime, instead of a life of education. This also brings up the question of where did these officials get educated? Where did these politicians learn that building a prison is a better investment than maintaining schools? 

As mentioned in a previous blog post, Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter, who is an African-American democrat, thought it would be a genius idea to also close down nearly a dozen public libraries, as well as homeless shelters. He proposed a warrant-less police search technique, a.k.a. "stop and frisk" from being considered legal throughout the city. Not surprisingly, a majority of people who are stopped under any motive of suspicion are African-American males. I am not sure how this guy won a reelection in a city where he has essentially declared war on his own citizens. A quick internet search showed that he earned a business degree from Wharton University of PA. I can not imagine under any circumstances where closing schools, libraries and homeless shelters, just to open a massive prison is good business for the community. 

As Americans are being led by a half African-American president, as Martin Luther King Jr. now has a day dedicated to him in January for his efforts in racial equality and as we enter Black History Month I wonder if Nelson Mandela's legacy was buried with him or if it will live on, and people in power will finally open their eyes instead of cloaking themselves with the thick blanket of bigotry and insecurity .

Recently, one of the best and brightest students whom I taught at a Philadelphia Charter school experienced the highly debated “stop and frisk” actions that police have extended to themselves. This child is a well mannered, straight A student, and has never been in any trouble. With the North East region in the grip of the “polar vortex” it was viciously cold on January 7th – so arctic their generous principal, Ms. Veronica Joyner, had given them hats, gloves and scarves to wear. He and his teammates were on their way to a basketball game when they say they saw a police officer "staring them down" and my ex-student says one of them "may have said something smart". The police say they saw a dozen young men running in "ski masks", which is already proven not to be true as their principal gave them scarves. Even if it were true, which it is already proven not to be, wearing winter apparel in the midst of winter should not be a crime. The various news reports that I combed through say this young man stopped running thinking it implied guilt.  He was first tackled to the ground by several police and then frisked by a female officer with such ferocity that he ended up in a hospital with a ruptured testicle, and with the possibility of not being able to father children. I first saw this story posted on my Facebook newsfeed by a friend currently in Guatemala. As I read it, I slowly began to realize who it was about, and tears ran down my face in shock. I do my best to teach the students who enter my classroom, no matter where in the world we are, whether it is America, China or England, that discrimination of any kind is not okay. I wish only the best for my students, and to learn that a police officer man handled him so inappropriately and unnecessarily makes me very angry. It is sad that society has taught this policewoman that it would be acceptable to perform her duties in such a barbaric way, so much so to physically harm an unarmed child. Could education have prevented this tragedy from happening?

As I was sharing the story of my Philadelphia student’s experience with a co-worker, who is from Rwanda, she became very choked up. She told me stories of how in Rwanda she was targeted for her skin color even by other darker skinned people, for the way her facial features were or for which village she came from. When she was in 4th grade she had the highest grade in her class, and then was forced to repeat the grade allegedly because her teacher did not like her. Her teachers told her parents to pull her out of school, because she would never be more than a maid. After moving to the UK, she had endured countless incidents of discrimination simply for having an African accent or darker skin. She said she knows that no matter where she goes, she will never escape the racism. While telling her life story, she pointed to a group of students and said “I am hopeful they will live in a better world than we do. But as history shows, it always repeats itself."  

Various forms of discrimination and racism are clearly rampant all over the world, not just in the US. However, I believe that as the self proclaimed leaders of the developed world, Americans need to practice what they preach and take better care of their citizen's human rights. People often believe the status quo will never change because you can not change the masses, which is simply not true. As a teacher, I am happy if I have influenced one child in a positive way, because that one child can then impact a number of other people. 

History does not have to repeat itself.  

Here is the Black Eyed Peas - "Where is the Love" music video for your viewing pleasure:


Sunday, May 19, 2013

“Clean Your Plate…There Are Starving Children in America”

 Says parents in other developed countries across the world

Whilst perusing the internet I came across an alarming trend in cities across the US: bans on the feeding of homeless people. You think I’m joking? I wish I was. It sounds like something we’d expect from other countries like…nowhere else, ever. We spend billions in aid to assist “developing nations” across the world, in hopes of supplying them with education, food, medical assistance, and democracy – yet more than 50 million Americans (including myself) are uninsured, our public education system has quickly eroded over the last decade (in my opinion due to the coveted “No Child Left Behind Act”, but that’s for another discussion) and poverty in America is at an all time high in decades. As the federal government looks to cut back on social programs such as welfare and food stamps, the local governments are implementing budget cuts for education and prohibiting the homeless from being fed by charitable citizens who want to help a fellow countryman. 

While I was living in Philadelphia last year for 10 months, a few things happened. A homeless shelter that housed up to 300 men was shut down apparently due to lack of funding. African-American, democrat Mayor Michael Nutter implemented a law banning the feeding of homeless people in public parks and the Ben Franklin Parkway, because he claimed it made the city lose dignity. Philadelphia also initiated shutting down dozens of schools over the next two years. According to this Article “Philadelphia's School Reform Commission voted…to close 23 city schools and merge or relocate five others” for the coming 2013-2014 school year. This means more than 14,000 inner city students are at risk of going from a mediocre educational atmosphere to one that would be abysmal at best since thousands of teachers will be laid off, resources will dwindle and class sizes will increase. Also a few years before I moved to Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter attempted to shut down 11 of the cities libraries, and lay off many librarians, but thankfully his efforts were thwarted by a City Council with common sense. 

What I gather from the leadership in Philadelphia is they don’t want educated citizens (trying to close down libraries and schools), they want homeless people to go hungry (banning people from feeding them in public locations), they want homeless people out of the shelters, which costs money and perhaps into prisons, which would make money. This spring the Philadelphia powers that be announced the city would spend $2.3 million on land acquisition for a new prison. It was reported that mid April the prison system was holding 8,897 people, when it was built to hold only 6,500 inmates. Instead of educating the youth of Philadelphia and providing programs to support those in need, Philadelphia has made minority groups and those in in the lower socioeconomic bracket a cash cow for big businesses that thrive in the correctional facility industry.

Thurman Kirby (58) is a man who ended up in the now shut down Philadelphia men’s shelter after having two strokes, and barely making ends meet on a monthly social security disability check. According to This Article “Kirby applied at the Philadelphia Housing Authority for a Section 8 rent subsidy, but was told the wait would be years. The list for public housing was even longer. "We can't get proper housing, so how can we move out?" he said.” I tried to find his whereabouts online, but I was not successful. I can only assume he is either on the streets or in the prison system, unless his luck turned around and he somehow managed to get on his feet (we can only hope). The shelters are being shut down, and homeless people are being denied the access to food by gracious individuals and organizations because the government doesn’t want the city to lose dignity. I would say the city of brotherly love has just shown how unbrotherly they really are. 

Philadelphia is not the only American city to ban the feeding of the homeless in public areas. In 2006, Las Vegas became the first major US city to pass a law like this, and for the record, Las Vegas’ homeless population has doubled in the past decade to about 12,000 people.  According to this New York Times article the Las Vegas ordinance bans the “providing of food or meals to the indigent for free or for a nominal fee.” It then explains that “an indigent person is a person whom a reasonable, ordinary person would believe to be entitled to apply for or receive [public assistance].” How could one define an ordinary person? I know I am not ordinary by any means. I am also not destitute. As a teacher, after being taxed by the city of Philadelphia, PA, NJ and federal taxes, as well as paying expenses necessary to live, I was lucky to have $30 in my pocket at the end of each month. Then I either spent my savings on my students or my foster kittens. Violating Las Vegas’ anti-homeless ordinance by providing food of any kind to a person deemed “indigent” is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a jail sentence of up to 6 months...or both. Bingo! The city is cashing in on people’s good will by either making them pay for a permit to feed the homeless, or the alternative of making them pay a fine, or go to jail. Hello new source of revenue, how are you today? 

The city of Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, aka the “happiest place on Earth” also enacted a law in 2006 that mandated permits for groups distributing food in parks within two miles of City Hall.  In 2011, twelve members of a food activist group called “Food Not Bombs” were arrested in Orlando “for giving free food to groups of homeless people in a downtown park” because they were “acting in defiance” of the city ordinance. According to the law, “Each group is allowed two permits per park per year” and Food Not Bombs had exceeded their permit limit, so by setting up their food tables for the homeless they were breaking the law and risked being swept away to prison. 

“I’m here because I murdered someone, what are you in for?”

"I’m here because I gave a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the homeless”

"Oh, you’re a danger to society! Stay away from this guy!”

As major cities across America (such as the cities I mentioned above, and also Dallas, Houston, New York City, etc.) are increasingly preventing kind souls from feeding the homeless in parks or other locations a larger problem is brewing. 

Food stamps are a thing of the past. The US government now has a program cleverly referred to as “SNAP”, or the more long winded version known as the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” which supplies debit cards instead of stamps or coupons. Last week the Farm Bill, which incorporates how the SNAP program functions was heavily debated. Ultimately, the House bill is now going to be cut by $2.5 billion a year, which is about a 3% trimming of the program. This program is relied upon by about 1 in 7 Americans, and now as many as three million Americans in need would be cut off from food assistance. According to Dorothy Rosenbaum and Stacy Dean of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, these major cuts will "cause significant hardship to several million low-income households," including “280,000 children from low-income families [who] will lose access to free school lunch.” Entirely due to the plummeting economy over the last several years, the number of people who have relied on food stamps (SNAP) increased 70% only since 2007.  After voting to drastically slash the budget for SNAP Rep. Reid Ribble (that is seriously his name!), a republican from Wisconsin said, "I want poor people to have food…I want children to eat well." He certainly has a funny way of showing it!

Speaking of children eating well, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake, personally benefited from social programs to assist the poor as he was growing up. He was a recipient of the National School Lunch Program. Flake just so happened to be one of five members of congress to vote against “reauthorizing funds for childhood nutrition programs” in 2004. Now here’s the All-American dream...grow up as a poor southern boy, work hard, become a politician to help serve those who don’t have a voice by being a civil servant, and then take away the very avenues you had to thrive in becoming a productive member of society. What you don’t have makes you stronger, right Flakey boy? Such as a nutritious lunch provided for you by the government. His government funded school lunches allowed him to fully function in school, so he could go on and attend a Mormon college. Flake’s Mormon views have no doubt been the backbone for his embarrassing voting record of trying to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage (because it’s against the Book of Mormon!) and trying to ban the feeding of poor, hungry school children like he once was. I haven’t read the Book of Mormon, but a quick Google search showed it was not against the Mormon religion to feed poor children. 

Rep. Juan Vargas, a democrat from California used the Christian rhetoric that we often hear from Conservatives against liberals by quoting the Bible in opposing their insistence upon slashing a program that millions in America rely upon. Vargas quoted the Book of Matthew by saying, "When I was hungry you gave me food. When I was thirsty, you gave me drink." I can only imagine he did this to try and use the same jargon Conservatives utilize for every other social issue at hand (Gay people are bad because the bible says so!..Sexism is okay because the Bible says so!..Americans deserve their right to bear arms because the bible says so?...)

During the discussion of not being responsible for the poor in America, several Republicans talked about their Christianity and said “the Bible encourages people to help each other but doesn't dictate what the federal government should do.” Doug LaMalfa, a California rep. went on to say "We should be doing this as individuals helping the poor." I would say this is hypocrisy in the purist form. If this is so, then individuals should be able to feed the homeless…and the governments should stay out of it. The Bible does not specify word for word that the American Federal government should help thy neighbor; therefore, the American Federal government will not help thy poor neighbor/constituents. Unlike what most Christian Americans would like to believe, the Bible was not written for just Americans, as a matter of fact the USA was not in existence when the Bible was created. Side note: Jesus wasn’t White! (*gasp*)

Rep. Jim McGovern, a democrat from Massachusetts said, "Christians, Jews, Muslims, whatever - we're failing our brothers and sisters here.” No kidding.

Don’t ask don’t tell: Don’t ask me not to feed homeless people, and then tell me you won’t do it because only individuals should be helping the poor and not the government. 

Whichever way you look at it, the government is trying to prevent poor people from receiving food they need to survive. Whether through individuals, groups or government aid, there are people who need help. Making it illegal for people to help, alongside government cuts to food assistance programs can be likened to handing out a death sentence or paving the way to life in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. 24601

For more information about Poverty in America, and how the government is doing nothing to help the issue check out this site: 100 Million Poor People In America And 39 Other Facts About Poverty That Will Blow Your Mind