Economic Human Rights & the Movement to Abolish Poverty. "Poverty is the worst form of violence." -- Mahatma Gandhi. Prepared & Presented by members of. Portland Organizing to Win Economic Rights www.povertyontrial.org 207-650-5092. When we unite to claim our rights, .
Economic Human Rights& the Movement to Abolish Poverty
"Poverty is the worst form of violence." -- Mahatma Gandhi
Prepared & Presented by members of
Portland Organizing to Win Economic Rights
When we unite to claim our rights,
together we have POWER!
"...There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life..." -- The Trumpet of Conscience,Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, 1967
What is Poverty & Who is Poor
There are a lot of myths about
who poor people are and why
we are poor.
Here are some of them…
What race are the majority of people living in poverty?
FACT: The majority - over 2/3 of poor families in the U.S. - are white.[i]
HOWEVER, poverty affects people of color disproportionately; for example, about 24% of African Americans families live in poverty compared to about 10% of white families.
[i] US Census Bureau’s “Income, Poverty, & Health Insurance Coverage in the US: 2006” www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf
Where do the majority of poor people live?
FACT: Only 40% of poor people in America live in inner cities, while 36% live in suburban areas.[i]
[i] Facts About Poverty That Every American Should Know: www.osjspm.org/101_uspoverty.aspx#city; Poverty USA: The State of Poverty in America: www.usccb.org/cchd/povertyusa/povfacts.htm
FACT: About 70% of people in poverty age 18 or older have a high school diploma or higher education.[i]
[i] Unfortunately, the US Census uses a formula that includes age 15 and higher (an age at which most people have at least 2 or 3 more years before being able to complete high school), for which the total % of people in poverty with a high school diploma or higher is 65%. http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032005/pov/new29_100_01.htm
Myth: Most poor people don’t work.
FACT: 60% of poor households have at least 1 family member working for wages outside the home.[i]
Additionally, 3 out of 4 children in poverty lived with a family member who worked at least part time.[ii] 1 out of 3 children in poverty lived with someone who worked full-time, year round. Of the remaining 40% of households, a many are disabled and/or elderly; And many others are raising children and/or caring for other family members.
[i]US Census: http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032005/pov/new06_100_01.htm
[ii] Facts About Poverty That Every American Should Know: www.osjspm.org/101_uspoverty.aspx#life
FACT:Only 23% of poor families receive ANY cash assistance.[i]Poor families receive the largest percentage of their incomes in wages: 62%;with less than 30% of their total incomes from assistance, including Social Security.
[i] 62% includes all wages & salaries (58.8%), plus the categories Non-Farm self employed (3.4%), Farm Self Employed (-1.4%), & Interest & dividend income (1.5%). Other inome includes social security (13.8), Pension survivor & Disability income (1.9), Means-tested Cash Assitance (11.4%). US Census: http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032005/pov/new27_001_01.htm
Most people are poor or homeless because they choose to be.
Photograph by Harvey Finkle
WHAT’S THE AVERAGE AGE OF A HOMELESS PERSON IN AMERICA?
FACT: The average age of a homeless person in the United States is NINE YEARS OLD.[i]Nearly 1 in 5 (20%) US children live in poverty– a child poverty rate that is 2 to 3 times higher than most other western industrialized countries.
Photograph by Harvey Finkle
[i] Statistics on Homeless Children and Youth: http://www.misd.net/Homeless/statistics.htm
How many people live in poverty in the United States?
FACT: According to the US Census, more than 36 million Americans live in poverty (some estimates say over 50 million[i]), and another 13 million of us are just above the official poverty line (125%).
[i] The 2006 US Census says 36.5 million Americans live below the poverty level, with 49.7 million below 125% of the poverty level; see “Income, Poverty, & Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2006,” issued Aug 2007: www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf
However, the Kaiser Family Foundation (and others) says 50 million Americans below the poverty level with 105 million people at or below 200% of the poverty level (considered low-income); see “Distribution of Total Population by Federal Poverty Level, states (2005-2006), US (2006)”www.statehealthfacts.org/profileind.jsp?ind=9&cat=1&rgn=21;
Yet, the public’s perception of the number of people living in poverty is out of step with this reality.
When asked in a recent survey[ii], the majority of people said they thought that less than one million Americans were poor.
[ii] “Poverty Pulse,” conducted in 2004 by Catholic Campaign for Human Development: http://www.usccb.org/cchd/PP4FINAL.PDF
FACT:The richest 5% of Americans own and control over 58% of the nation’s wealth, the poorest 50% make due with less than 3%.[i]
[i] Put another way, the top wealthiest 10% of Americans own and control 70% of the total wealth, while the rest of us – the bottom 90% – own and control 30% of the wealth. See Wealth and Inequality by the Numbers” by United for a Fair Economy, published in Dollars and Sense: www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2004/0104inequality.pdf ; for another source, see United for a Fair Economy charts on Wealth & Inequality: www.faireconomy.org/research/wealth_charts.html
Distribution of Wealth in the U.S.
The richest 5% of Americans own
58% of the nation’s wealth
The poorest 50% of
Americans own 2.8% of the
FACT: The poorest Americans pay the highest percentage of our available wealth in taxes, while the richest pay the least.[i]
[i] Facts About Taxes that Every American Should Know: http://www.osjspm.org/101_taxes.aspx#whatpercentage
The US is home to some of the greatest wealth inequality in the world – greater than in any other western industrialized country.[ii]
[ii] “The Wealth Divide: the Growing Gap in the United States Between the Rich and the Rest”, Multinational Monitor: http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2003/03may/may03interviewswolff.html
[i]2007 Poverty Guidelines, issued by the US Dept of Health & Human Services (HHS): www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicaidEligibility/Downloads/POV07ALL.pdf & http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/07poverty.shtml
Based on a terrible formula[i] concocted in 1965 (the cost of a food basket for a family of 3 in 1955 multiplied times 3) the official poverty level is artificially low, and bears absolutely no relation to actual living costs, or what it takes for a family to survive.
[i] See the following references: Dollars and Sense article about how poverty is defined by the government: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2006/0106dollar.html; US Dept of Health & Human Services FAQ about the federal povertylevel: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/faq.shtml; Further resources on poverty measurements, poverty guidelines, and their history: http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/contacts.shtml#f;
ACTUAL cost of housing
The United States is the richest & most powerful nation on earth, yet, unlike most other comparably industrialized nations and many so-called “developing” nations.
Here in the US, we have:
Economic Human Rights are what we all need just to live a decent life-style. While we are frequently led to believe that basic needs such as food, housing, medical care, education, and good jobs are privileges, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed by the US and all other United Nations members in 1948, “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health of him or herself and his or her family, includingfood, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services…”
Economic Human Rights are the same rights that Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign fought for back in 1968 when he began his Poor People’s Campaign and the historic Poor People’s March from Marks, Mississippi to Washington, DC. These rights are violated every moment of every day, in every city and town across America.
“…committed to uniting the poor across color lines as the leadership base for a broad movement to abolish poverty.”
Economic Human Rights March 2003
World Social Forum 2006
OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD!
“a grassroots anti-poverty action group that is led by poor & low-income people. United with all those who align themselves with this mission, together we're building a local movement to win economic rights for all, end economic oppression, & abolish poverty.”
When we unite to claim our rights together we have POWER!
For more information about POWER:
PORTLAND ORGANIZING TO WIN ECONOMIC RIGHTS = POWER!
Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
PO Box 50678
Philadelphia, PA 19132
*ECONOMIC HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ALL!
*END POVERTY NOW!
Portland Organizing to Win Economic Rights