NYT: Jobs Americans Do

The New York Times has published a review of work and workers in the Trump era.  A link to the stories is here.

Popular ideas about the working class are woefully out of date. Here are nine people who tell a truer story of what the American work force does today — and will do tomorrow. Popular ideas about the working class are woefully out of date. Here are nine people who tell a truer story of what the American work force does today — and will do tomorrow.

Applying to College from a Homeless Shelter

By Van Edgewater
I am living in a man’s homeless shelter to get this education, so that I can better myself for the future. This situation has exemplified to me what kind of life I would have if I do not get a better education, and it starts with finishing my high school accreditation.
I truly believe now that an education, the right education, is the answer to all things possible; a better and possible brighter future; a means to an end in all things to live a conducive and consequential life. I need this education to be that person, the person that I was meant to be: a humanitarian who helps point people in the right direction without judgment, so that they themselves can be better contributors to their own lives and society as well.
As for me, I have been living on borrowed time, borrowed money, job to job to job. I have grown weary of it, and unlike the people I spend my evenings and weekends with, I have not given up, nor am I just living to die.
A conviction as to where I am coming from is to walk in my shoes for the day. I doubt that any of you would have the stomach to do it for six hours. I see people putting on their job resumes or college applications that they volunteer at the homeless shelters. Well, I guess that it all fine and dandy if you are trying to appease someone and look good at the same time,
If you could imaging for a moment that you are re-wallpapering your newly acquired home and that you started with the baby’s room, and all of a sudden you puncture the wall with your scraper, and out comes what seems to be hundreds of roaches. That is what I live with day in and day out, the underlying truth.
And I want to be a Social Worker.
After living with these forks since March, 2015, I have come to question my own matriculation. I have come to the conclusion that I abhor these people, and that they deserve what is coming to them. I have been pondering this thought for quite some time; I have talked to a trusted sister and a confidante friend of mine — the mendacity to myself would be to walk away from this. To stand at this crossroads at this age at this time, I have learned that life has not been easy, so why should the future be any easier. This is what I was meant to be.

Van Edgewater is a Native American currently residing in a Salt Lake City shelter. He is part of an adult story writing project with teacher Tara Allred Niekamp, and he is writing poetry. The students are working to receive their high school diplomas.

Marching for Minimum Raise

April 15, 2015
by Lisa Calcasola

By the time the Fight for 15 protests stopped in Times Square in Manhattan on , it was dark. People who had been preparing for the event weeks ahead of time dropped their signs on the side of the road to be recycled and went their separate ways.

Even with most of the protestors gone, the space still felt electric with its energy.  I talked with Chantelle and Monica; Monica had a camera around her neck. I asked if she was interested in film, and she told me she was in film school now, studying to be a director. Film is one of the most accessible forms of media there is, and can reach a multifaceted audience, she said.

“I’m really interested in documentaries,” Monica said. “Film can shed light on lots of social issues and get the word out, teach people about what’s going on.”

When asked what she thought today’s biggest message was about, Chantelle feistily replied, “It’s all about not letting corporations steal from the people.”

“Corporations make billions of dollars and what’re they doing with it? They’re keeping it for themselves and stealing from the people. Today is all about making sure we don’t let them win. We won’t go down without a fight.” Continue reading

Close to the Edge

Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times writes about a new first-person account of the descent into poverty. Click here for the column.

One little-recognized reality of poverty in America is how closely it lurks beneath the surface of even a successful professional life. A bad career turn, a couple of financial missteps, and — here comes the dizzying plunge from middle class to underclass.

That’s the lesson of a remarkable first-person account in the latest issue of the Hedgehog Review, published by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture of the University of Virginia. Entitled “Falling,” its author is William McPherson, 81, a published novelist, former editor of the Washington Post Book World and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, in 1977.

A link to McPherson’s account is here.

THR - Fall 2014