The Not-So-Subtle Factor behind Poverty

An interesting thing has happened as a result of the election cycle for president. Suddenly, the conservative wing of our political structure has discovered there is a drug problem in this nation that requires more than incarceration. As they have discovered this fact, they have spoken eloquently about the problem. One of the most eloquent spokesman on the subject has been Chris Christie. His story involved a young man who was attending law school at the same time as Christie, who eventually lost everything because of his drug use.

As a result of this exposure to our drug problem, we are now talking about the issue in terms of the role mandatory sentencing has paid in the “war against drugs.” In response, our conservative, “law and order” candidates, are now talking about the need to use mandatory drug treatment instead of prison. What has caused this turn around in thinking?

Well, Ohio Governor and Republican candidate for president, John Kasich, made an interesting observation. Mr. Kasich wondered aloud how the African American people might feel about this new emphasis, given the fact that the over prosecution of drugs has ravished their community, but is only now being discussed publicly. What Governor Kasich might also have observed on reflection, is the fact that all the stories have involved Caucasians. For example, the lead stories have been Governor Christie’s law schoolmate and Carlie Fiorina’s daughter. Added to this, is the fact that the whole issue came to light  in New Hampshire, an overwhelmingly white area, where  prescription drug abuse is the problem.

The point I wish to make in this posting, is the fact that racism is still alive and well. For example, with a rise in the Dow Jones of over 10,000 points, a cut in the jobless rate by 50%, and a job market that has added an average of over 150,000 jobs a month, I wonder how President Obama’s presidency would be evaluated if he were white? Part of the struggle of working with the poor is the image people have of a poor person. For example, ask someone to close their eyes and describe a person who is poor, single, has children and is on food stamps, and see what happens. If you’re saying to yourself, “Well, after all, black people are the majority of this group,” you are wrong. In a recent study on Poverty in Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Poverty Task Force found the following, located on page 9 of the study, “More Virginians in poverty are white than non-white and more are working than not working contradicting a common image of poverty.”

The fact remains, that racism is still a leading factor in poverty. As a result, as a percentage of the population, African Americans are over represented among those in poverty. This is why Heart of Compassion Partnerships is focusing its work in the area’s we do. This is why Heart of Compassion Partnerships engages in activities like, “A Conversation on Race.” Poverty cannot be effectively addressed if racism is not effectively addressed. As former President Harry Truman once said, “If you’re going to keep a black man in the gutter, you’re going to need two white men to keep him there.” In the coming weeks, I hope to lay out for you our 2016 emphasis on ending poverty. Your comments, as always, are welcome.

Prayer for Our Nation Day 30

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Dear Lord, on this final day of public prayer for our nation, I am bold to ask for the inflection of this blessing first given to Aaron. I pray Father that You will indeed continue to bless our nation, and that You will keep us as a nation until the return of Your Son, Jesus. I pray that the warmth of Your eyes will shine upon our nation, giving us joy, and that when we fail, You will be gracious to us and help us to humble ourselves before You, seeking Your forgiveness. Finally, I pray that the security of Your countenance will strengthen us, and give to us within our boarders, Your peace.

We love You Lord, and we do not–and cannot–even exist without You. You are our breath of life, our Lord and King, and we love You Father with all our hearts, minds, and souls. In Jesus Name, Amen.


My thanks to those who prayed with me and to my friends and brothers, Marty and  for providing a prayer for our journey. Starting next week, I will be posting a weekly reflection on the poor and the importance of joining in, on the fight against poverty.

God bless you all,

John Dooley, founder and CEO of Heart of Compassion Partnerships

Prayer for Our Nation Day 29

“…no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17

Father God, what an awesome way to begin this new calendar year of 2016. An awesome promise from an awesome God!!! A promise so rich, our confidence and sense of security soars to the Heavens! NO weapon; whether of bombs, or guns. or acts of terrorism; NO weapon formed against believers will succeed. The Isis terrorist are defeated before they even begin. NO words; whether the words of Putin and his desire to destroy us, or the words of Isis in their desire to terrorize us, or the words of the enemies of faith and their desire to diminish us; NO words spoken shall go unrefuted! This is not only our heritage, an absolute guarantee of linage that no one can take away, it is our vindication, that sweet sense that right is might and cannot be overrun. What a way to begin what the world calls its first day of a new year. Yet even here, we win, because You win! We don’t have to wait for the calendar to turn to be vindicated or to be given a victory, or even to get a fresh start, because with You Father, everyday is a new day of victory! To You be all the glory! In Jesus Name, Amen.