Today is Sunday. Legislative acts in the first few weeks of the newly controlled NC legislature defined the temperament of today. It was then; the track was laid to redefine what it means to be poor in North Carolina leading to the dismantling of unemployment benefits for 70,000 North Carolinians today, with another 100,000 in December. A record high of 170,000 citizens face a tomorrow they cannot define. The stories of already fragile lives being challenged to the brink of economic cliffs in homes across the state tear at the core of life. How do families provide when 4 million are unemployed vying for an estimated 1.4 million jobs? Doing the math becomes a simple assignment; mixed with those who can and do not work, are overwhelming numbers of those who can and want to work but cannot find work.
And what about rural communities and those with a history of persistent poverty? What is to be said in cases such as this? Luring businesses in communities where challenges have been persistent and where the generations have failed to swing the balance of poverty to prosperity, takes more than declarations of reform that punish those already living under the weight of poverty. It takes an administration dismantling poverty from all angles.
Asserting legislative might into the cause of poverty and a legislative will into reconfiguring public policy that thwart’s its persistence is the argument needing teems to hover over while local accountability is never dismissed. No one wants to live under the weight of poverty. It robs communities of potential, and it leaves empty spaces in residences that should be full of vision. Denying the poor aid does little to solve the real problem no matter how frustrating it can be.
In lieu of a plan to combat the loss of unemployment benefits in communities over the next few weeks, all of us can join in a simple act of caring. Hope is a priceless commodity. None of us know how families will survive, but what we do know is that they will. When neighbor upon neighbor from communities of all sizes and demographics from urban to rural remember the needs of neighbors, it can inspire hope. Hope too is an energy that can be detected in the worse of situations and in the direst of circumstances. The adage if you see a need, then fill it…consider your neighbor. If you can help, please do. All hands are really needed on deck for this one; your ideas, fixing an extra meal, and if you’re employed, helping others figure things out, along with remembering them in your prayers.
Places of worship are the best places to be today. When your pastor or worship leader asks if there are prayer needs, please be reminded that your neighbor could be one of the 70, 000 today and one of the 100, 000 in December. Say a prayer for them and their families. Pray today they never give up on hope.