By: Sherita Mouzan, Witnesses to Hunger: Philadelphia
I’m a victim of the multi-generational effects of trauma, including poverty, alcoholism, mental illness, and food insecurity. Growing up in North Philadelphia, I lived in various houses with inhumane conditions. Houses that were without heat and or running water. Unsanitary houses where we had to use shoe boxes for toilets. Houses that smelled of mold and mildew, sometimes without electricity. At times there was a lot of darkness—I can’t be in the dark, bad things happened in the dark.
One in four Philadelphia residents are living in poverty and one in eight are living in deep poverty. Our city remains the nation’s poorest big city, with a poverty rate that has stayed stagnant over the last 5 years.
I had a fantastic experience at this year’s Social Impact Exchange Conference on Scaling Impact. Despite being one of the few people from the non-profit sector, I was warmly welcomed to join for an extraordinary two days.
“If a person always says you’re nothing; you’re nothing,” explained Tamira,* a mother who participated in our research study, “Childhood Stress.” The Childhood Stress study, results of which were recently published in Public Health Nutrition, sought to investigate childhood adversity among parents and caregivers who reported household food insecurity. In this study, the research team and I sat in living rooms, cars, and l
Witnesses to Hunger in the Senate Rotunda advocating to end child hunger in 2015 with Senator Casey.
President Obama gave his sixth State of the Union address on this past Tuesday. While there is much to be said about the slow but steady improvement of our economy, it was disappointing to see the President actively ignore the topic of poverty in the US.
On an early September evening, the Witnesses to Hunger exhibit in New Haven, CT opened to a crowd of about sixty people. The exhibit, held in City Hall, featured 28 photographs from members of Witnesses to Hunger and twelve never-before-seen photos taken by community members who took pictures and provided commentary on the reality of hunger and poverty in the New Haven area.
Witnesses to Hunger participants from Boston trudged through the snow and slush to Boston’s City Hall and the Massachusetts State House last week to do what they do best – educate and advocate. With the Witnesses and our partners at Children’s HealthWatch, we visited with the Staff at the Mayor’s office and three state legislative offices to brief them on the daily realities for too many Boston residents.