No matter your political persuasion, there is no debate that great economic disparity is damaging to children, and therefore to society as a whole. The lack of opportunities for the less wealthy not only hurts them, but the effect of a greater population struggling with economic anxiety has an impact on every citizen. The Boston chapter of the National Association for Social Workers recently put out a press release supporting the Occupy Boston protesters-
“Social Workers know that joblessness and economic insecurity contribute to the incidence of mental illness, family violence, suicide, substance abuse, crime, and diminished capacity for healthy family and community functioning. It is this knowledge and experience that gives the social work profession a special responsibility to advocate for income, employment, and social support policies that promote the economic justice and social well-being of all members of society. ”
“…the single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education.
Huh? That will seem naïve and bizarre to many who chafe at inequities and who think the first step is to throw a few bankers into prison. But although part of the problem is billionaires being taxed at lower rates than those with more modest incomes, a bigger source of structural inequity is that many young people never get the skills to compete. They’re just left behind.
Parents of any economic class know how much it takes to raise good kids. Even with all the support money can buy, it’s the hardest job in the world. So, you can join in Parents For Occupy Wall Street-whose tag line is “Creating Change Now for our Children’s Futures.” These protests are an opportunity to step out of our own bubble and get active. For as Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker says “There is nothing worse than being the ‘agitated sedentary.’”
Let’s show our kids we care about the big picture of their future and model activism, community and caring.