The two of us do not currently live in poverty. By random chance, we were born into privileged families, and this privilege has kept us from hunger, homelessness, and financial insecurity. It is not something we deserve, or are worthy of, and it is certainly not an excuse to turn a blind eye to the vastly different circumstances that one in five Memphians live under.
Here in Germantown, the median household income is $159,000 a year. We have vibrant, well funded schools, personal transportation for almost everyone, and a poverty rate one fifth of the national average. This affluence has provided an ‘excuse’ for the citizens in our community to overlook the plight of those around us. Twenty miles north, the citizens of Frayser earn wages in the second percentile nationwide, with seventy four percent of children living in poverty. Our privilege can amplify voices like these. We can no longer afford to stand idle.