Blog Action Day is SO GOOD! Poverty is such a big deal and while I haven’t traveled to third world nations that are experiencing mass hunger, I do get to see it on a weekly basis around Los Angeles. When I think of poverty I immediately think of the homeless. In LA we’ve got almost 90,000 homeless and whether you’re on skid row in the heart of downtown or you’re in my neighborhood in Pasadena, the homeless issue is everywhere. There are a lot of reasons for homelessness and such extreme poverty – from chemical imbalances and drug addiction but according to Andy Bales, CEO of The Union Rescue Mission, the big cause is the lack of close family. Check out his recent video talking about it.
The average age of the homeless in America is 9 – NINE!! Sam Slovick’s collaboration with GOOD Magazine’s look at downtown is horrifying and heartbreaking – I recommend you check out all 5 parts.
So how is poverty going to change or even just decreasing the number of homeless in LA? Sure, I could say a collaborative effort, increased police presence, cracking down on drugs, and politicians working to give aid where it’s needed. BUT all of those things are passing the buck. What am I going to do? I can rail against governments and organizations all I want but people are at the core of all of that. People make those decisions, people influence their corporations.
Tim Sanders, in his recent book, Saving the World at Work, illustrates time and time again that a single person at any level of an organization has HUGE power. So I think that the power to stop poverty starts with you and with me. I’ve been very fortunate to rub shoulders with both Andy Bales and Tim Sanders in the last 6 months – both are amazing guys and are the kind of person I aspire to be. I recommend checking out the book.
2. Talk with your business about helping your community – many companies are starting to encourage this kind of ethos in a brand.
3. Let the candidates know that you care about poverty and that it should be addressed. With the election this year, you’ve got more power than normal to influence the world.