By: Miriam Axel-Lute
September 23, 2014
I attended my first ever Assets Learning Conference, put on by CFED last week, and I have to say it was mighty impressive.
And I was particularly pleased to see that economic justice and things like reforming the tax code to be less regressive and reward savings by low- and middle-income Americans, rather than mostly the already wealthy, were being given an important place next to what feels like the aset-building movement's bread and butter discussions of savings programs and financial education.
I remember my 94-year-old grandmother, Mary Masako Kanase, standing with tears in her eyes, reading the inscription on the stone memorial at the Japanse-American internment camp in Jerome, Arkansas this past October. She held my hand and said to me, "I'm so glad people remember."
For Firoza, a mother living in Queens, New York, the foreclosure process was too overwhelming. She wasn't opening her mail. She wasn't answering the phone. She wasn't talking to people. That's what the stigma and fear of foreclosure did to her. Instead, she quietly went to a private realtor who asked for $2,000 to help her get out of foreclosure. After paying the money, the realtor came back and told her the bank had denied her request.
By: The Office of Housing Counseling, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development From: "The Bridge"
Oahu, HI - In January 2011, Native Hawaiian Veteral and Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiary, Larry Kawaauhau Jr. (pictured) enrolled in Hawaiian Community Assets’ (HCA) financial literacy/rental education and credit counseling program. Years prior, Larry had dedicated himself to serving in the U.S. Army only to come back home to Hawaii with family conflicts and limited employment options. Faced with this reality, he soon became homeless as he continued to wait for his lease award on Hawaiian Home Lands.
I am a huge sports fan and I grew up in and currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, of course, I am cheering for the Golden State Warriors in their playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers. I wish I could enjoy the excitement of NBA Playoff Basketball without the ugly reality of racism intruding into my fandom.
This year is the 50-year Anniversary of the War on Poverty and depending upon when you start the clock on community development, this year is something pretty close to the 50-year anniversary of community development, too.
In a piece on my personal blog, I referenced a bigger politics of social and economic justice vs. a more narrow politics of identity/representation. Those of us who work in communities of color know this tension well. And while I guess it should be expected, it always surprises me the extent to which people will trade selfish representational gains to the detriment of a bigger picture justice.
Normally, I don’t respond directly to comments to my blog posts. I don’t like to argue with individual people, particularly when the arguments are based in hardened ideological stances that aren’t going to change with any one exchange.