Another generation, not ours, not even our children’s but a next generation of children. Children lost to poverty, poor health, illiteracy, ignorance, hate and yes, even hopelessness and violence. You might be shaking your head as you read these words, saying not in my backyard, not my grandchild or not any child I know. I can only ask you to think, to consider are your assumptions really true? If this is you, wake up! You are either living in a very rarified position, away from the rest of us, or you are blind too what is truly happening in what was once possibly the greatest country in the World.
1 in 45 children are homeless today, living either on the street or in homeless shelters.
1 in 5 children will go to bed hungry tonight, during the summer months this is even more devastating as there will be no school lunch program so they may remain hungry through the day. Of course, many states have already cut the school lunch program from their budget so they will already be use to the daily hunger especially at this time of the month when food stamps have stretched as far as they will go. We can dress this up all we like (Food Insecure = HUNGRY) but the simple fact is, they are without food.
50,000 children sleep on the street in this country at any given time. These are the runaways, the at risk children.
250,000 families with children are in shelters at any time. This number doesn’t account for families living on the street or in their cars, families squatting in empty buildings or on park benches.
To make it more real, perhaps easier to see the numbers:
Youth violence, a nice way to say our young are killing each other without remorse; their weapons include their fists, guns and even words. Bullying is on the rise along with suicide. Our Juvenile Justice system overflows with the spillover to the adult prisons; the coffers of the for profit prison system in nearly every state of the union overflowing. Youthful offenders, boys and girls as young as twelve remanded as adults for crimes even a decade ago they couldn’t have imagined and now they commit without understanding the consequence, they will have a lifetime to consider though as they sit in cells and on yards never intended for them. Wasted lives, wasted futures, wasted potential and all our futures are at risk, as an entire generation turned more antisocial, even sociopathic.
What were we thinking in our Greed and Self-Absorption, what did we think when we failed so miserably to provide communities and schools for all the children of this nation and not just our own. Did we really believe we could draw invisible lines, build invisible walls high enough and escape with our ‘White Flight’ and the wretchedness and purity of our selfishness wouldn’t follow us, is that what we believed? Those birds have come home to roost, each generation becoming more entitled than the last; each generation in this millennium more inclined to demand their place at the table while contributing nothing. It is our fault for training them and providing nothing but our own sense of entitlement, our own self-absorption and lack of compassion, along the way. What will we do now?
Generations Lost used the following sources and my own broken heart: