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Beckwith: legislature’s job is to prevent child poverty

Beckwith: legislature’s job is to prevent child poverty

Bishop of Newark Mark Beckwith writes that New Jersey’s incoming legislature “must fight childhood poverty”:

Some of our political leaders argue that impoverished adults have brought their plight upon themselves. Putting that debatable assertion aside for the moment, let me ask: What infant deserves to go hungry? Which toddler is responsible for his household’s budget? What school-age child is at fault because she can’t afford health care?

I have been with too many kids over the years who have felt the violence of being pushed out, kicked out, ignored, forgotten or treated as acceptable collateral damage in political and economic battles between alleged adults. We can do better.

We can build partnerships — between businesses, nonprofit organizations, schools, religious communities and neighborhoods. We can learn to look out and down, daring to see the world through the eyes of those whose future looms longer, and bleaker, than ours. We can lobby our Legislature and governor to adopt the sensible reforms promoted by child advocacy groups on behalf of our most vulnerable kids.

We can admit that poverty is violence and that no child deserves the pain that too many now endure. And having arrived at that conclusion, we can act and insist that our elected officials do the same.

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