Visit the lights and glamor of New York or LA –
I’m somewhere hidden in the middle – in the America you won’t see.
Week after week, paycheck to paycheck –
I’m one car repair, one medical bill away from disaster.
I mercilessly cling to cruel reality with the whitest knuckles.
Don’t let me fall – parachutes don’t exist in these parts.
I bundle up my flesh and bones –
winters and bare cupboards in the North are awfully cold.
Food or shelter? I can’t afford both. In the richest country in the world,
it’s a fight for survival. We shouldn’t have to choose.
My struggle doesn’t define me but my pride won’t help me here.
Reach out or go without.
Help doesn’t trickle down from above.
We’re on our own. It’s us on the ground helping each other.
To the outside, we’re only a statistic
but we see the people – our neighbors and friends, our city.
We talk. We share our resources.
Grab a hold of the lifeline we created. We’ll lift each other up.
Get a free meal at the library. Visit the food pantry at our kids’ school.
Feed our bellies – and also our minds.
I have hope that this isn’t forever.
This is our community, our home – we’ll make it a better place.
Throw us a rope and resurrect our purpose.
Our dreams are buried under decades of greed but we’ll reclaim our future.
As Americans, but more importantly, as humans,
we are in this together.
- A mom from Toledo, Ohio USA