A Crisis of Priorities

What we are dealing with in this country is a crisis of priorities.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics 1,929 schools closed their doors last year. Meanwhile the Pentagon handed out a $496 billion dollar contract to Lockheed Martin to build the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter—the most expensive weapon ever procured.

Feeding America reports that 14.7 million (19.9 percent) children under the age of 18 currently live in poverty. The USDA claims that 31 percent—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion pounds of the available food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2014 went uneaten. The estimated value of this food loss was $161.6 billion using retail prices. Just a meager one cent tax on every single cup of coffee would create enough money to pay for every single child to eat three meals a day.

We also have a crisis of priorities in the City of Rochester. While millions of dollars are being invested in luxury apartments in the Charlotte Marina, Midtown Plaza and the East End, nearly 100 people were evicted from a temporary shelter on Canal Street in the Susan B. Anthony district. The official excuse is that the lease was set to expire and it was simply time to leave. Rumor has it that the shelter was okayed by its owner for an extended lease but the City has run out of patience. For many guests the indoor Sanctuary Village was a beacon of hope. For everyone who stayed there it offered emergency shelter. It also seems like many of the structural problems such as fresh drinking water and indoor plumbing could have been fixed if people were willing to get creative.

So why were these people really kicked out? And why is the City of Rochester now installing a chain link fence around the old Sanctuary Village under the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglas Bridge? IMG_20150210_165906631_HDRThe answer to these questions are simple. The homeless are not welcome. The homeless are not welcome to stay inside or outside. They are not welcome to eat hot food or cold food. They are not welcome to sleep or sit. They are not welcome to come or go. They are not welcome to speak or remain quiet. They are not welcome to sing or shout. They are not welcome to earn a wage. They are not welcome to look at strangers. They are not welcome period. The fence says stay out. Even this petty little chain of metal is worth more than a human life. This inanimate object can stay put but you must leave.

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