of country we will become and what course we take, not only for this country but also in the world.
how they define themselves will also define what type of country they live in and what direction they take their cities and states. we cannot do it for them. it is up to them to define their era and their generation and to set the course for those that follow them. however, it is up to us and more than that, it is our obligation and duty to define to them who we are. in defining who we are, we also teach them our own values, morals, sense of importance in all matters and the very basics of what is right and what is wrong. in teaching them those things, we set their course early in life and lay the foundation for their own defining legacies.
today there are 1.3 million homeless students in america. that is a staggering number. regardless of how you define homelessness, regardless of the situation, this is shameful. these kids are victims of our failures. exactly what kind of legacy are we leaving them? there are over 45 million americans living in poverty, many of them children. even though the government says unemployment has fallen, it is still at a high level. wages have been stagnate for the lower, middle and upper middle class for more than a decade. people struggle to keep a home and food on the table. food insecurity is at an all time high in this country and many parents and their children go to bed concerned how they will eat the next day.
our children should be what matters most. any way you consider it...they need us. we cannot lose focus on our most precious resource...our children. we can no longer allow underperforming agencies and advocacies to jeopardize our next generation. we can no longer be complacent and accept what the government and others would have you believe is our new norm. we need to always remember that behind every poverty, homeless and hunger statistic there are faces of our children. let us remember that their future and the defining factors of their generation are effected by our actions or lack of it.
the issues behind child and youth homelessness are deep and broad. it will take every agency, advocacy, church. local organization and individuals working together collectively as partners to ensure our children get the chance to define their own generation in their own way and not have it defined from an inherited set of problems that stunted their opportunities before the chance for them to decide what their generation would be remembered for. instead of strategizing and planning for the next ten years, it is time for us to move forward. the solution we seek will require different thinking, different actions and a different expectation of what success means when fighting homelessness, poverty or hunger. we all have to take a different path than we've taken for the last forty years to bring about the desired results. we can and should ensure that every child in america has the opportunity for success and not have to begin their generation fighting issues and problems inherited from us. our homeless and social agencies must become accountable to the next generation and we can and should hold them accountable for their successes and failures. we must be able to provide our next generation a chance to succeed without having to be concerned about the very basics of life such as food and shelter.
it is time for a change in our social service system and our homeless agencies. this is not something that we can afford to have another ten year plan to study and strategize about and collect data. we should act with a sense of urgency. each day, each week, each year we delay it is at the expense of our children and the success of their future. the decisions we make, the programs we implement, the money we spend and the course of action we take impact their future and the future of our cities and our country. our system should prioritize our children and specifically target them in any social service or homeless housing program. they should be our top consideration and our top priority. there should be no other group of people that demand our attention or our concern more than our children.
our children and how we treat them and the level of concern and compassion we have for them defines us a country. let's not leave our children a legacy we wouldn't be proud of. let's not burden our children with the heavy problems of homelessness, poverty and hunger that our generation have been striving to end. let's not let our children be having a discussion about these issues and how it will effect the generation after them. let's leave them something to remember us by. when it's time for them to give the country to the generation after them. let's make our legacy something they will be able to continue to pass on and be proud of.
see you around town
what will we leave them?