Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Question of Value

The killing of Trayvon Martin was not an isolated incident of violence.

On the 8th day of January, my daughter told me that a seventeen year old boy, known by most of her friends, had been shot and killed a few days before in Oakland. She said that this was the second death in her peer group since the beginning of the New Year just 8 days earlier.

Two months ago my daughter’s friend called her at 3 a.m. to tell her that there had been a shooting at a house party after the prom. My daughter reassured me that she and her friend would never have gone to a house party in that section of Oakland because there are so many shootings.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Last night I sat with my family around the table, already hearing sounds of firecrackers.  The conversation wound its way to focus on who lives here, in the United States, and in what conditions.  My daughter pointed out that there is a huge immigrant population, and many are living in poverty. Both my son and daughter went on to talk about poverty, in the United States and in the world, with the statistic that 80% of people in the world are living on $10 or less each day, many on less than $2 a day. There is significant poverty in this country, generally not to that level, largely because of minimum wage laws for people who are able to find jobs.  However, in this country, homelessness is increasing.  We went on to talk about different levels of poverty, and that in this country, most people do have sanitation and clean water, whereas that is an enormous problem in other parts of the world, making a big difference in complications of illness and death.  Per UNICEF, 22,000 children die every day because of poverty.