He was dumbfounded. He had a problem that wasn’t going away and the woman on the other side of the window of the RTA customer service center didn’t have a solution. Nor did she seem driven to work one out for him.
His reduced fare bus pass had been lost or mangled and until his new one arrived in the mail, he had a handful of coupons to use.
But the bus drivers, he said, wouldn’t take the coupons because he didn’t have his pass which identified him.
So, the clerk said flatly, he would just have to wait.
But, he replied, his voice rising, that meant going back and forth to work and paying the full fare.
That was it, she said. He would have to wait a week or two till his new pass came in the mail.
So, what am I going to do, he kept repeating before he shuffled off unhappily.
What am I going to do?
That’s what a little money means to someone who has very little.
This is a world that has grown larger in the US with the economic collapse, and which has found a root in many black, and immigrant communities. It’s a world of low wage jobs with not even a foot on the economic ladder.
We’ve talked about this before and pointed at studies by the Asian American Institute that show large numbers of Asian immigrants stuck in poverty, and reports by the Heartland Alliance which show increases in a dire poverty in a number of black and Latino communities in Chicago.
It’s a story that needs telling again and again, and with an emphasis on what needs to be done.
The man and the image of so many persons stranded at the bottom of the economy struck me as I wandered in a photo exhibit about American poverty. The show, “America’s Forgotten Poor,” is a presentation of compelling photography taken across the country for the Americanpoverty.org. Carlos Javier Ortiz, who has documented poverty and violence in Chicago, is one of the photographers.
The show is on display at Columbia College, 33 East Wabash, first floor. Chicago
These lives are being lived all around us and are waiting for you to tell their stories.
And talk of stories:
Join Bishop Epting and Episcopalians from across the Diocese for an Episcopal Night benefit performance of Karma at St. Martin’s Repertory Theatre, presented by St. Martin’s and CROSSwalk, on Saturday, December 1st.
ception will be followed by the 7:30 pm performance. Tickets are $50, and all proceeds will benefit St. Martin’s spring production, which will be written, workshopped, and performed by youth in the Austin community. For more information, visit https://www.ticketriver.com/event/4690-karma, or contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org.