Today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year's theme is poverty.
In a speech he made in July of 2000, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said, "the vast majority of Pasadena residents cannot afford the median priced home that exists in our community today." And that was before the housing price boom.
Things have certainly changed since then. The most recent statistics I found were cited in an article by Peter Dreier in Pasadena Weekly from September, 2007. At first the numbers make it look like poverty levels are decreasing in Pasadena. But at closer examination, Dreier discovers that there are fewer poor people in Pasadena because they're leaving. They can't afford to live here. Yep, Pasadena is a prosperous community.
I wonder how things will change in the days to come. I wonder, as the world's financial crisis plays out, if we'll need to do more than just write checks to charity to keep our communities afloat. Maybe the crisis will be a crisis by definition: short-lived. Maybe we'll all be fine. Or maybe poverty will hit home. What will we do? Serve food? Build homes? Get our hands dirty? Will someone do that for us if we're in need?
I've heard pundits call it "the American financial crisis." What they fail to understand is that we're part of the world. Our economy is global. Our society is global, too. If society is global, then poverty has already hit home.
What will we do? What will you do? What will I do?