Tianna G. is member of Witnesses to Hunger who lives with her husband and her three children in Philadelphia, PA. Tianna has experienced many barriers to success, including homelessness and difficulty finding employment. All of her children suffer from epilepsy and moderate to severe asthma, so they all have to take life-saving medication every day. Even when Tianna and her husband are both able to secure jobs, they struggle to pay for rent, food, and medical expenses. Tianna regularly works to educate the public and policy-makers, and has spoken at many conferences and hearings. She submitted written testimony for a House Budget Committee hearing on poverty in August 2013. Tianna also recently attended the State of the Union Address as Senator Robert Casey’s guest.
See Tianna on CNN's American Morning.
Hear Tianna on WHYY's Voices in the Family with Dan Gottlieb.
See Tianna's writing and photography featured by Media Voices for Children.
See Tianna featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the launch of Sesame Street's new initiative to support low-income families in eating healthy.
One of Tianna's favorite photos is a shot she took of her year-old twins in their stroller, eating cheese curls on a sunny day. “That picture,” she said, “represents happiness.” She wants her children to be lawyers, doctors, engineers. “My children are my life,” Tianna said. “A lot of times I let my well-being go for them. But what good mother doesn’t?”
Tianna talks extensively about the way social programs work at cross-purposes: how, if you’re on public assistance but babysit for a friend for $40, you could jeopardize your entire welfare check. It’s all because of strange rules that don’t seem to take into account what it’s really like to live poor in Philadelphia.
It takes a toll. “I am tired,” she said. “And a lot of mothers out here are tired, too. Women out here live in unbearable conditions, and all of them are struggling. There’s so much violence. Our youth is lost. We need more programs for teens with babies, for the elderly who are afraid to go outside.
“We’re all hoping for a better house, a better neighborhood, a better life.”