Don’t you want to know what’s going on?

“What’s going on” troubles me deeply. The vast majority of the children I teach are not white. These delightful kids are sweet, curious, loving, funny and smart. If you met them you too would love them – all of them.

“What’s going on” is that more than 15 million children, or roughly one in five, are living in poverty. The poverty rate for children of color is more than double the rate of white children. Also the longer a child lives in poverty, the harder it is for a child to get out of it later in life.

By now you’ve got to know that poverty and crime are linked in a morbid dance and that crime and poverty negatively impact our economy. If you don’t know that open your eyes and look at “what’s going on” because your help is needed.

With our country’s abundant wealth it is a national embarrassment that only three other countries in the developed world have a higher child poverty rate than us. Where’s your national pride? Where’s your patriotism? Do you only bring it out for the National Anthem at sporting events?

All children are your children even if you didn’t give birth to them or raise them, or teach them or coach them or see them playing in your neighborhood. If you need a selfish reason to help… who do you want taking care of you and your country when you’re old and feeble and need help?

I know a woman who’s old and worried about her safety. She keeps her curtains closed, locks her windows, bars the doors and keeps a gun in case there’s ever an intruder in her suburban white affluent low-crime neighborhood. When arthritis finishes taking over her hands how is she going to lock everything up? How will she be able to pull the trigger? 

If you truly want to protect yourself… protect the children. Feed them, clothe them, educate them, protect them and for God’s sake love them.

This song has been echoing “what’s going on?” for 44 years — time for you – yes you – not the person next to you or down the street or in the next cubicle – you – to step up and change the current answer to the question. 


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