“We Will No Longer Stay Silent to This Classism”: NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ramya Ramana

New York City’s 2014 Youth Poet Laureate Ramya Ramana read a poem she wrote at Bill de Blasio that celebrated New York City while also being a “Screw you, Bloomberg!” send off to the former Mayor.

New York City by Ramya Ramana

A constellated skyscraper moving gracefully to jazz beat, finding the Gil Scott-Heron in all her footwork, gripping the streetlights like an eclipse of hymnals, this is home. The lost voices, the heart’s devotion to beat and pulse, slow-dancing colonels, home to hustle, home to work hard, dream harder, home to move in silence, let success shatter the glass of hostage echoes New York City—not lights, not Broadway, not Times Square. It is single mother donating her last meal’s worth of money to church. It is the faith in that heart that makes a dead dream worth resurrecting. It is coffee-colored children playing hopscotch on what is left of a sidewalk. It is chalk-outlined, colonized map on a street as dark as the bones of the dead. This we call holy. This we call tough skin, thick-boned. This is New York.

We will no longer stay silent to this classism. No more brownstones and brown skin playing tug-of-war with a pregnant air hovering over them like an aura of lost children. No more colored boy robbed of their innocence. This city always will be the foundation of this country. We are root. We are backbone. We brown, we black, we yellow, we white, we young, we collage of creatures stomping to be reminded of the mammal inside of us. We chance, we deserve, us opportunity, us new mayor, us new beginning, like dancing cocoons, us hope, us fight, us happen, us love, us some good human, us happy, we happy, we happy with change. It is a constant baptism to remind us of our holy. We welcome, we family, we congratulate Mayor Bill de Blasio. We are so very honored and pleased to have you. And the congregation says:

And the crowd answered, “AMEN!”

ICYMI: Lots of low income & food stamp budget friendly recipe links

A round up of the stuff you may have missed this past week.

 

Food & Recipes

How to get kids to eat vegetables | No Ordinary Homestead -I used to be a pre-school teacher. One of the things I found thru my own experience teaching as well as raising my own children is that if kids participate in cooking & growing the food, they are much more likely to eat it.
And not surprisingly, tons of research confirms

Social Supermarkets -”In a nutshell, Social Supermarkets are markets that take surplus from other stores {items that are about to expire, are dented, mislabeled, etc.} and sell them at significant discounts to patrons who need some sort of economic assistance, instead of tossing them into the trash.”

Real Food Recipes to Replace Your Favorite Junk Foods - how to transform your fave “junky” recipes to real food ones. My tip: Don’t be intimidated by recipes that call for ingredients you’ve never heard or can’t find in your area. I’m an experienced cook and I had to google what an ingredient was yesterday lol
Totally use goggle when you are trying to find a substitute for an ingredient that is too expensive or hard to find.
(For example: Peanut butter or Sun Butter is a pretty decent sub for tahini)

25 Easy Crock Pot Dessert Recipes - Mmmmm, desserts.

100+ 30 Minute (or less) Meal Ideas for the Busy Cook | Love Bakes Good Cakes -Quick,easy…and a lot of them look pretty frugal,too.

Freezer Friendly | Well Rounded NY -budget friendly.

Frugality Gal: $1 Dinner: Super Cheap Meal to Make for a Lazy Night - It’s a group turkey-macaroni dish. Total cost $1.15 (her onions & peps were free,though)

90 Meals For $1.25 Per Serving (or Less!) – Daily Deals Blog - I was so confused because I scrolled down to the bottom and only saw 30. There’s 30 recipes for each meal.

1 Organic Chicken, 22 Healthy Meals, $49 Bucks  - There were skeptics when I posted this on my social media. I’ll have to experiment with it myself, maybe after the hollerdaze.

Secret Freegan scored all this food to donate to a teen shelter. Otherwise, it would be slated for trash.

 

 

Thrifty Living & DIY

A Thrifted and Thrifty Gifts Discussion: You Giving Thrifted Gifts? + Gift Wrap Ideas -I’m a big fan of thrifted giving. It’s about the only kind I do. Well, besides handmade.

5 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season –           I like this list for several reasons. Mindful donations, caring for people and the planet, and practical things nearly everyone can do.
I was happy to see Treecycling. I collect them from the neighborhood & drag them into the woods. #goofypaganlady

 Literacy Launchpad: 20 Places to Find Free Children’s Books Online - A good resource for families w/ Internet connection at home but can’t make it to the library when they’re open to take out actual books.

25 Ways to Naturally Clean with Salt ~ * THE COUNTRY CHIC COTTAGE  - Non-toxic. Cheap. And you can use food stamps to buy it. It works,too. I had coffee stains on my counter and salt totally worked.

Articles & Thoughts

Iowa wants its poor to give up smoking and drinking to qualify for Medicaid - “A single person at 50 percent of the poverty line makes less than $500 per month. That’s obviously not someone who can afford even a nickel in extra expenses. But that was the income level in Iowa’s initial application, which means that for all practical purposes the original goal of this program was to (a) deny government benefits to poor people who are smokers, drinkers, drug users, or overweight, but (b) provide the benefits if these poor people agree to fairly intrusive government monitoring that ensures they improve these behaviors.”

Study: Over 21 Million U.S. Households Can’t Afford Their Rent - yeah.

 

Activism & Awareness

Campaign Aims to Get Cell Phones to Survivors: Donations Wanted - If you have an old cell phone laying around, consider donating it to this program. They help domestic violence victims have a lifeline to help when they need it.

 

Transgender workers are nearly four times more likely than the population as a whole to have a household income of less than $10,000. It’s absolutely important to address how poverty and trans issues intersect. Check out http://transequality.org/ for more info.

When Drones Guard the Pipeline – Militarizing Fossil Fuels in the East By Winona LaDuke with Frank Molley.http://bit.ly/16cjzqz

Staff from the Chicago Bulls are spending the afternoon volunteering at the Food Depository! Thank you! They’re also fighting hunger with the Social Donation Plate. Check it out at www.thedonationplate.org.

 

Only Good Stuff: School kids get to eat for free, City Harvest food rescue, a town gave poor people money and it was awesome, and more…

The good stuff  happening in poverty and food justice….

♥ In September, West Virginia rolled out their non-income qualification free meal program in schools . Now , thanks to  what’s called the Community Eligibility Option, more cities are offering free meals to kids. The program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that authorized $4.5 billion in new program funding. So far, Boston , Atlanta, Detroit,Washington,D.C. , Grand Rapids, and Elmira . Jacksonville, Florida also has Universally Free Breakfast Program.

♥ I love seeing updates on my Facebook and Twitter feed from City Harvest. This NYC group rescues food that would otherwise be wasted and distributes it to people who need it.
For example:
“Produce can be hard to come by for New Yorkers in need. This morning we’re distributing 19,000 pounds of produce free of charge at our Mobile Market in Washington Heights/Inwood. We’re giving out nectarines, cabbages, peaches, onions and potatoes!”
Photo: Produce can be hard to come by for New Yorkers in need. This morning we're distributing 19,000 pounds of produce free of charge at our Mobile Market in Washington Heights/Inwood. We're giving out nectarines, cabbages, peaches, onions and potatoes!

California is raising their minimum wage to $10 an hour. This isn’t as high as San Francisco’s $10.55/hour or Long Beach’s new proposed $13/hour but booya,California.
minimumwagebanner

♥ Back in the 1970s, a town in Canada did an experiment which involved giving poor people money. The data is just now being put out there…

For four years Dauphin was a place where anyone living below the poverty line could receive monthly cheques to boost their income, no questions asked. Single mothers could afford to put their kids through school and low-income families weren’t scrambling to pay the rent each month.

Initially, the Mincome program was conceived as a labour market experiment. The government wanted to know what would happen if everybody in town received a guaranteed income, and specifically, they wanted to know whether people would still work.

It turns out they did.

Only two segments of Dauphin’s labour force worked less as a result of Mincome—new mothers and teenagers. Mothers with newborns stopped working because they wanted to stay at home longer with their babies. And teenagers worked less because they weren’t under as much pressure to support their families.

The end result was that they spent more time at school and more teenagers graduated. Those who continued to work were given more opportunities to choose what type of work they did.

If a guaranteed income program can target more people and is more efficient than other social assistance programs, then why doesn’t Canada have such a program in place already? Perhaps the biggest barrier is the prevalence of negative stereotypes about poor people.

“There’s very strong feelings out there that we shouldn’t give people money for nothing,”

So here’s some evidence that unconditional benefits make people happier and healthier and do not lead to laziness.

In the period that Mincome was administered, hospital visits dropped 8.5 per cent. An 8.5 per cent decrease in hospital visits across Canada would save the government $4 billion annually, by her calculations. And $4 billion is the amount that the federal government is curren tly trying to save by slashing social programming and arts funding.

aljazeera:

India’s upper house is taking up a massive food security bill that aims to provide heavily subsidised food to two-thirds of the population.

It was approved by the lower house last week.

The bill intends to cover more than 800 million Indians and seeks to address the needs of some of the poorest families.

Each person qualifying for the aid will be entitled to five kilograms of rice, wheat and coarse cereals at a nominal price every month.

The programme has been estimated to bring food subsidy costs up to $19.6bn this financial year, almost $5bn dollars more than current spending.

♥ I’m a month late on celebrating this news but L.A. will now longer be fined for gardening the strip of land between their house and the street.   Hey, thanks, Ron Finley!

♥  A documentary about an educational project called Barefoot University, that offers illiterate women living in poverty an opportunity to train to become solar engineers.

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Know of any positive things happening in the area of food and poverty justice? Use the form below to send me a private email or scroll down to leave a public comment.