View this email in your browser

February 7, 2020

Has this devotional grounded your resistance to Trump in Scripture and empowered you to act for the common good? If the answer is "yes," then please help us reach more progressive Christians. Become a Patron today.
According to MIT Economist Peter Temin it takes around 20 years with no setbacks to get out of poverty in the US.
Photo credit: JOSE LUIS MAGANA / AP
Hennepin County, one of the most populous counties in the Twin Cities, is having deputies hand out repair vouchers instead of tickets for broken vehicle lights. -via KARE 11 News
“Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Whoever seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door is opened. Who among you will give your children a stone when they ask for bread? Or give them a snake when they ask for fish? If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.”

-Matthew 7:7-11

MIT economist Peter Temin has found that it takes around 20 years with no setbacks to get out of poverty in the United States. A parent must begin in their child’s earliest years to help form a life that is able to overcome all the obstacles that come with being poor in this country. Any setback such as illness (you or any family member), arrests, loss of job, loss of housing, loss of transportation, and traffic tickets can throw a wrench in the works, adding time onto that 20-year haul, or stopping one’s ability to escape poverty altogether. We can see how any one of these small problems can be compounded and lead to greater problems.

Yes, even something as small as a traffic ticket can lead to major setbacks. If your brake lights go out or get broken and you can’t afford to fix them, you probably also can’t afford an initial ticket on top of the repair, or the next ticket you get for not having the repair done. If you can’t afford to pay the ticket, you’ll probably have a warrant out for your arrest. If you get arrested, you will lose income while you are in jail, and possibly loose your job altogether. You won’t have money for the repair, the ticket(s), the bail, or a lawyer. If you lose your job, you also won’t be able to afford your housing, and without housing, it will be hard to retain custody of your children. And on and on.

Any little problem can be the start of a disaster cascade when someone is in poverty. This is why the new policy in Hennepin County (Twin Cities, Minnesota) to not give out traffic tickets for broken lights is such an important move. And, not only are they not giving out tickets, they are handing out repair vouchers, so you can actually get your lights fixed even if you don’t have the funds to do so. This is a small but meaningful way to step into a small gap that can lead to greater debt and prevent someone from getting out of the cycle of poverty. It is like giving out bread when someone needs bread, instead of giving a stone.

The Lights On! program in Minnesota was created in response to the death of Philando Castile because many of his traffic stops and tickets were related to broken lights. In order to begin to repair relations between the police and the communities they patrol, Lights On! seeks to build community directly between officers and citizens in these exchanges, rather than being antagonistic. MicroGrants is a micro-lending organization in the Twin Cities that helped start Lights On! and administers the funding for the program. 

In a week filled with growing uncertainty for our future, it is important to have concrete ways to keep bringing hope and change to the world. It is important to see how people continue to respond to tragedy with hope and tangible action to create change in their communities. Let’s take that hope and keep building on it.

Start a Lights On! program in your area. You can find more information on their website about starting a program. If you are in Minnesota, the structure is already in place to replicate fairly easily.

If you live elsewhere, this is a good opportunity to learn more about what your community is doing to stop the cycle of poverty. Do you have a local micro-lending organization like MicroGrants? They might be a place to start, or even to administer the funding, like in the Twin Cities. If there is not a micro-lending organization in your community, you could start there. Who are the partners needed to create such an organization and make it a success? How can we use our voice, energy, time and resources to help bring these partners together and create change?
Gracious God, you have given us everything. But when we look around, too often we see that our neighbors do not have enough. Help us find ways to prevent them from getting caught up in all the small obstacles of life that keep adding up and become a full-on disaster. Help us see the small steps we can begin to take that lead to bigger solutions to offer a helping hand to pull our neighbors out of the quicksand of poverty. For each of us is created by you to live a full life, not one of desperation and fear. May our hope cast out fear. In your name we pray. Amen.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Copyright © 2020 The Resistance Prays, All rights reserved.