Linda Tirado explained poverty in a way that you can feel it

Linda Tirado

I’ve seen poverty up close. I have friends that are desperately poor. I’ve tried to write about this and tell their story because it makes me hopping mad that the politicians don’t seem to understand the first thing about it and play political football with the dignity and self esteem of the poor. I’m middle class, and though we do have lots of money problems all the time, it’s not the same as the problems my friends who are poor have. Theirs is of a different order of magnitude. I worry about them all the time and it even makes it hard to be friends, ’cause I can’s stand the pain. Their lives are a never ending daily crisis of want. Their kids go without basic things. In this materialistically oriented society, they live in a fog of depression.

So I was moved by the eloquence of Linda Tirado (here ) in explaining what it feels like to be poor and to make decisions as a poor person. And yeah, we can use those words (poor, poverty) without feeling shame, or like we’re using a dirty word. The world is filled with poor people. They are the biggest share of the 99%. Their issues are the ones that matter.  To the extent that we know of, understand, discuss, empower and find solutions for those problems, the world will start to change for the better.

I want to pay tribute to Linda Tirado’s article by re-posting her article here. I hope you find it as wonderful as I did.  Her article went viral, there has been a lot of positive and negative reaction. You can also view a live interview of her here.

Incidentally (or not so coincidentally) my new novel, INTERMARRY (find it hereIntermarrycoverFotor is a “what if story” about an average white guy who decides to do something about the economic disparity in a Chicago neighborhood with his own hands, ingenuity, and sweat. It takes a dig at our so-called “welfare reform,” which pushes people off of welfare when they are too poor to receive it. The novel also frames the racial issues that keep people apart, and explores the long road America has to travel to get to oneness.

My newest novel, GOD CREATED WOMEN (find it here), God Created Women cover_final_hi-restakes a look at the feminization of poverty and the connection between domestic violence and poverty. The physical and  psychological forms of abuse are closely tied to economic control and neglect. When a child goes without, it’s mother suffers deep, psychic, real pain, especially if she feels it’s being denied sustenance by a neglectful, manipulative father. So many women and children are poor because in order to escape abuse they leave behind or don’t fight for resources that are rightfully theirs.

About rheaharmsen

Rhea Harmsen is a scientist, novelist and author of Language of the Spirit, a volume of selected poems. She has also released three novels, The Harvest of Reason, Intermarry, and God Created Women. Harmsen was born in a family with a black father and a white mother at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in some states. Her parents gave her a vision of world citizenship that informs her writing and her lifestyle and has caused her to reject traditional views of race and gender. Harmsen's article "Science in the Hands of Women: Present Barriers, Future Promise" appeared in World Order in 1998 and provides the foundation for the story line for her novel The Harvest of Reason. She co-published the Monroeville Race Unity Forum Bulletin and authored many poems on racial topics, crystallizing the "conversation on race" in the novel Intermarry. Her work with domestic violence survivors in Puerto Rico inspired the novel God Created Women. Harmsen holds a doctorate in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently resides in Puerto Rico. Upcomming projects are described in her web page at
This entry was posted in food security, national discussion, poverty, social justice, the poor, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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