What’s poverty?

Politicians play political game with it, universities do in dept studies on it, clergies give eloquent sermons on it, but only the poor live it and know what’s poverty? Poverty is the generational inheritance of lack: of education, resources, security, and economic justices; an inheritance that the poor earnestly try to disown but the gravitational force of poverty wouldn’t allow them to do so. Poverty is the midwife that delivered the poor into a world that puts profit over everything, a world that’s more interested in saving money than saving the lives of impoverished children. A world that’s unwelcoming to the poor and looked down on them as if the lack of material possession deprived them of the immaterial essence of their humanity. Poverty is working for less than you are worth, less than it cost to stay healthily alive; it’s working for an employer whose intention is to drain as much of your life energy (labor) as possible yet pay you as little as possible. It’s the single mother who was not able to provide enough food for both herself and her child, so she went to bed without, allowing her child to have his full. Poverty is the pillow of worries that keep her up at night, knowing that she will have to face the reality of food insecurity again; and it’s the river of tears that wash her face at dawn, knowing that she will soon see the hunger face of her child again.

Poverty is living in a state of environmental apartheid, where the poor inherited the waste by-products that gave birth to wealth, which often cost them their health. The waste by-product of air pollutants that are exhaled by factories but are inhaled by the poor, the dumping of waste products in the water supplies that they’ve to drink; and the physical fatigue from delivering the finished product of wealth into the world — a wealth they will never enjoy. It’s the feeling of sadness to only be able to window shop the products of their labor, which are stocked up on selves in stores; it’s the feeling of alienation to know that they cannot even afford to purchase their own sweat. Poverty is when the location of the hospitals in which poor children were born, the neighborhoods in which they live, and the schools which they attend, can be used by experts to accurately predict their socioeconomic positions and rate of incarceration in the future. Poverty is living in a food desert, where the only food that is available are those that are nutritionally poor, which caused the poor to develop health issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s more costly to live in poverty than to live in wealth; living in wealth cost a lot of money but living in poverty cost a lot of lives. Poverty has been the only pandemic that the world has never tried to vaccinate itself against nor tried to get rid of, it’s the only pandemic that had never been breaking news, yet it’s still digging graves daily… globally. The world needs to learn how to prioritize people over profit and invest some of its knowledge, resources, and love into the lives of the downtrodden among us. And by doing this, maybe future generations wouldn’t need to study and ask what’s poverty, but rather what was poverty.


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