I grew up a poor black girl in a Washington, D.C., ghetto. It was the tumultuous time of the civil rights movement. Disheartened by the injustices of the day, I found hope in the message of a bumper sticker. It read: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” It dawned on me that I didn’t have to be a victim of my circumstances. I could be a solution and change things. Poor meant only that I had less wealth, not less worth. That simple message helped me realize I have value!
I’ve spent much of my life since serving organizations fighting poverty across America and struggling to be valued as a black woman able to contribute. I wish I could say that I see philanthropy bringing an end to poverty. But, despite trillions of dollars donated since the ’60s, poverty remains in full force.