Leon Reed shares the results of recent studies on poverty in Adams County and Pennsylvania to help answer why poverty prevails in the U.S. even when the economy has flourished. The definition of poverty now includes single persons making $20,000 or less and a family of four making $59,000 or less. He observes that the two fundamental issues are jobs and housing. In the justice system, the poor who get charged with misdemeanors have difficulty making bail and paying fines, resulting in their return to prison. Meanwhile, federal and state funding has dropped drastically to the point where programs that help are being curtailed or shut down.
Megan Shreve, CEO, South Central Community Action Programs, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania talks housing on this episode of the Seminary Explores. The “Wage Gap,” perhaps the most significant contribution to the housing crisis, occurs when a working family on minimum wage does not qualify for aid, but doesn’t have enough to cover the necessities of food, health, transportation, and child care. In addition, declining resources from state and federal governments are threatening even the most basic programs such as overnight shelters. SCAAP has created two innovative, and biblical, programs that involve community resources. “Support Circles” provide dinner and child care as well as action strategies to rise out of the gap. “Gleaning” allows families to harvest agricultural products that growers can’t market.
Carla Christopher, a student at United Lutheran Seminary and a former Poet Laureate of York, Pennsylvania, talks about how we can have difficult conversations around challenging topics by creating a safe space where people can engage with one another and feel safe to be human. Conversations about race, diversity, and a gender can be difficult, but there are resources available to help any group or organization, no matter how small, to begin to share their life experiences with one another.
Kim Davidson, Director, Center for Public Service, Gettysburg College, recently returned from a study tour of El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico maintains that current policy toward Mexican and Central American immigrants is based on racism, and that it is made more acute by the lack of transparency in the practices of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). She suggests several things that advocates can do, including making their voices heard and providing legal services to those wrongly detained.
In a conversation with Fran Quigley the Seminary Explores learns of some deeply-held misconceptions we have about drug costs, the urgency for change, and how people of faith might fit in. Quigley is Clinical Professor and Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is the author of four books: Prescription for the People: An Activist’s Guide to Making Medicine Affordable for All, If We Can Win Here, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and Walking Together, Walking Far.
Dr. Dwight Michael, physician in family practice with Gettysburg Family Practice and member of Physicians for a National Health Program and Health Care for All Pennsylvania, believes that healthcare is a human right, recognized as such by every modern industrialized nation except the United States. Opponents have not considered the savings that a single-payer system would bring to the economy; on the contrary, he asserts, the cost of not adopting universal health care will be counted in the trillions by 2020.
Please note this discussion was recorded on July 7, 2017, references to specific bills in Congress should understood in this context.
Lou Charest, Manager for University Engagement for Catholic Relief Services, describes the current global refugee crisis and explains why Catholic social teaching, as well as Pope Francis, calls us to welcome migrants and refugees. He offers suggestions for how local communities can provide support, from encouraging legislation to linking with refugee families.
Dr. Maria Erling, Professor of American Church History, ULS, and author, “The Augustana Story” sets the Lutheran World Federation Assembly, held in Windhoek, Namibia in the context of justice and reconciliation in Namibia and the abused women in the Congo.
Award-winning songwriter, performer, author and peace activist David LaMotte has travelled extensively. In Gettysburg for the first time, he talks with Katy Giebenhain from Seminary Ridge Review about change narratives, reconciliation and a wonderfully unexpected story of nonviolent response.
Writer, scholar and social justice advocate Nancy Cook describes her research and her residency experience at the Gettysburg National Military Park in this episode of The Seminary Explores. Cook holds an M.F.A. from American University and a J.D. from Georgetown University. She has done projects in very interesting settings, including a former state mental hospital in Minnesota.