A city free from poverty?

To the Editor:

Can Chicago become a city free of poverty and hunger? That is a question that we should be asking of our mayoral candidates in a city where one in five people lives below the rate of poverty.

The Herald reported on Dec. 5, 2018 that three mayoral candidates (Amara Enyia, Lori Lightfoot, and La Shawn Ford) had met for a forum, and it seems that none of them were asked about the crisis of inequality or about their plans for combatting poverty. It was reported that Lightfoot took on the issue, as she called out a status quo of deep poverty and unemployment in service-starved neighborhoods and laid out a dream for “closing the gap between the haves and the have-nots.”

In the coming months, I hope that Lightfoot and other mayoral candidates will continue to speak on this issue and refine their plans for combatting poverty.

I also hope that they will use their loudspeakers to call on our federal representatives to safeguard key federal anti-poverty programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps). SNAP helps more than 40 million people put food on the table, but it is under constant threat by a hostile president and Congress. The Trump Administration has even proposed a rule (known as public charge) that would punish legally residing immigrants for using SNAP and other basic assistance programs. The public charge rule will force people to choose between feeding their families and staying in this country.

This choice is unacceptable and the level of need that we force on people must change.

We Chicagoans must speak out in support of policies that help millions of families put food on the table. Join me in calling on our mayoral candidates to address these issues and on our federal representatives, like Rep. Bobby Rush, to fight Trump’s public charge rule and protect SNAP and other vital assistance programs for every member of our community.

 

Quentin Dupouy

Hyde Park Resident and REAL Change Fellow with RESULTS