We had another successful Cookies and Beer Happy Hour this month! With over ten people in attendance, we discussed a wide range of topics, including the issues surrounding standardized testing and the Pruitt-Igoe public housing project. We watched an episode of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight that addressed standardized testing and The Pruitt-Igoe Myth, a documentary that records the history and controversy of the public housing project in St. Louis. From our discussions we decided to create a list of films and movies, which can be accessed through the Resources tab on the website. On November 23rd at 5pm we will be having our first Cookies and Beer event on the Danforth Campus in the Lieberman Graduate Center. We hope you can join us!
Since poverty is such a huge and complex topic, we had a lot to discuss at our family meeting. I thought I'd provide you with some of the resources we drew from for that discussion.
Situations related to poverty with discussion questions
Situation 1: Gregory W. is a homeless man in Louisiana who was arrested for stealing food from a grocery store. The retail value of the food was $39. He was assessed $339 in fines and fees and was jailed. His charges were later changed to community service because he could not pay the fines. But when he could not pay the bus fare to complete his community service, he went back to jail. He spent a total of 198 days behind bars, and his incarceration cost the City of New Orleans $3,500.
Situation 2. Jackie is a mother with three young children, ages 2, 5 and 7. She had a good job at a Ford plant, but she lost her job about 16 months ago. She doesn’t have any other family to depend on. She’s been having problems meeting her bills. Her kids are good kids. For the holidays, Jackie wanted to buy her kids a few items, mostly clothes that they needed. She did not have any money, so she forged a check. She was arrested and convicted. As she does her time in prison, her kids are in foster care. She may never get them back.
Room for Debate
Homes for the Homeless
Today, Margret Garb a Professor of History and Co-director of the Washington University Prison Education Program, came to Connections to talk with us about poverty and the history of social welfare in the U.S. Several themes emerged from her talk which are discussed below. We have also provided some additional resources at the end of the post.
Role of Government in Social Welfare
Throughout the lecture, the role of government in providing social welfare came up several times. The government has played a complex role in this area, with times of increased support, and times of minimal support. Often this was reflected in the general public’s view of the government’s role in society in general. Should the government be responsible for helping lift people out of poverty, or is this the responsibility of the individual person? Even so, legislation that provides money for the poor can subtly cut out whole swaths of the population by adding restrictions or insurmountable stipulations to the funds.
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
"Skilled" vs. "Unskilled" Labor
Jane Addams - Social and political Activist
- Source: Wikipedia
Pioneer in the field of social work, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace
- Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2015).
- Alice Goffman, On the Run (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
Ralph Laurence, Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago (University of Chicago Press, 2014)
- Luke Bergmann, Getting Ghost: Two Young Lives and the Struggle for an American City (New Press, 2008)
- Daniel R. Kerr, Derelict Paradise: Homelessness and Urban Development in Cleveland, Ohio (University of Mass Press, 2011)
Blog post written by Rebecca and Jessica
This blog is made to record the information learned at Connections lectures.