Listen to the least of my brothers - Catholic Courier

Listen to the least of my brothers

While looking into a Syracuse program helping people overcome poverty, I came across this quote from Nelson Mandela: "Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is man-made and can be both eradicated and overcome by the actions of humans."

Shedding light on the actions of humans working on this eradication locally is the goal of a series of articles I am working on this year.

Poverty has been in the spotlight ever since ACT Rochester published a poverty report last year, which led to the creation of an anti-poverty initiative. While the initiative’s steering committee includes a who’s who of Rochester leaders, many activists hope there is room for all voices to truly come up with viable solutions. To succeed, the effort must include those who are living in or have lived in poverty, activists say.

One organization that has taken the lead on that concept is Picture the Homeless. Several members of this New York City-based group were recently in town to share their ideas. They emphasized that 75 percent of its board membership comprises people who have experienced homelessness, and they recommended that Rochester heed that example as it works on its homeless and poverty crises.

You don’t get out of poverty just by landing a job. You also need to consider transportation, child care, housing, health care and family relationships, as evidenced by a recent poverty simulation. Such simulations have offered valuable insight for those who have never experienced poverty.

Rochester is the home of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, who fought for fairness and justice for all. So, I pray that our community leaders bring that kind of visionary thinking and invite all voices to the table as they work to make Rochester great again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To offer ideas for the poverty series, please e-mail


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