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  • Writer's pictureEarlSun

A Perspective on Poverty, Survival, and Understanding

Updated: Nov 11, 2023





I was once asked by someone, "If you were poor and lived in a bad neighborhood, why didn’t you just move?" At first, I did not understand the question, but once I understood my audience, it made sense. The people I was speaking to had never experienced hunger, violence, or the day-to-day challenges that I and others like me have had to endure at a young age.

Mentally, my response was, "How stupid can you be? Why would you ask such a dumb question?" But instead, I paused and gathered my thoughts carefully so as not to judge, attack, or insult anyone. Instead, I aimed to enlighten, educate, and coach the people in front of me. I had to put myself in their shoes and realized they were just seeking an answer to something they did not understand.

I proceeded to explain the dynamics of the environment in which I lived. My family did not have the means to live outside the environment where I resided. The money we had was only enough to pay for the bare necessities and nothing more. We got new clothes twice a year, at the beginning of the school year and Easter—looking good for Easter Sunday was a priority.

There were no business investments, loans, or generational wealth where I come from—just survival. If we were able to move, the question would be, "Where would we go?" Yes, we could have moved to another neighborhood, county, or state, but the reality is that it would have been the same environment in a different location. Without opportunities for better jobs, housing, and education, we were destined to remain where we were.

The response to my answer was humbling to the individuals, who then stated, "I never thought of it that way."


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