One Christmas, brought to you by abject poverty | Street Jazz

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One Christmas, brought to you by abject poverty

Posted By on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

We have so many issues which bring us together - and split us apart, yes - in Fayetteville, that a simple issue like working class poverty often slips through the cracks.

We battle so much over environmental issues, civil rights, paranoid delusions about public restrooms, and parking issues that the lives of those who eek out a living in which they might pay rent by the week, or have to raise a family next for to drug dealers is rarely, if ever, discussed.

Tracy and I took two young people to dinner tonight at Outback. One of them, a young girl with aspirations to be an artist, only got two presents this year - a set of glitter pens and a headset that was broken before she unwrapped the package.

Earlier in the day, their next door neighbor had banged on their wall, shouting for their help to rid him of his “demons.”

She told us, “I’d like to move away from here.”

Yes, I thought. You should move.

I’d been here before, you see. Not just any poverty-stricken neighborhood in Fayetteville, but this one in particular, when I wrote an article for the Little Rock Free Press a few years ago - “Hell by the Week” - about folks living on the cusp of poverty, and the horrific circumstances they often found themselves in.

I had been to this apartment complex checking out stories of drug paraphernalia in the stream next to the ramshackle apartments.

they turned out to be true stories.

It was too dark to check the stream tonight, but if I ever find myself there again, I’ll be checking it out.

These are the Christmases most of us know nothing about. Men, women and children so far down on the social scale they barely register.

They certainly aren’t on the radar when folks run for office in Fayetteville, except in terms of gentrification and beautification projects. Then they are just people to evict, obstacles to progress.

I have been waiting in vain for anyone in power to speak up for the children who only receive glitter pens for Christmas, or broken headsets.

No one lobbies for them, or speaks up for their families.

Well, maybe next year . . .

******

Quote of the Day

Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up. - Thomas J. Watson Sr.

rsdrake@cox.net

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