No Family Should Be Broken Up Because They're Poor And Can't Pay Utility Bills - And Response

Thursday, February 16, 2017

I admit, I do not know the full situation of the East Chattanooga parents and having their children taken away because they didn't have running water or electricity in their home, or the home had a 'hole' in the ceiling or wall. But no family should be broken up because they're too poor to pay their utility bills or because the place they live has minor damage. This is the unity that's missing in today's black community.  

I never knew until adulthood not all my cousins were blood relatives, but by then it really didn't matter anyway because that bond had been made solid and unbreakable. Those 'cousins' were actually children from the community my great aunts and great-uncles, aunts and uncles, had taken in to raise as their very own. One 'cousin', I later found, parents had died when he was a young child, and there were no near relatives around to take him in. Rather than see him going into foster-care, great-auntie Pearl and uncle Kenneth raised him as their own child. We never knew differently or otherwise he was someone simply taken in by relatives. Those things, one another, the black community once depended on to survive, regardless of class, social standing, who did or didn't attend someone's church, appear to have vanished today as everyone goes about chasing their individual rainbows.  

We're more like than not to call the city on someone who's grass has gotten too high, or hide behind a curtain or shade, to report some non-existing suspicion than roll up our sleeves, knock on our neighbor's door and offer to help. When I was able to mow my own lawn, I also mowed the lawn of a neighbor who had been deployed to Iraq for a year. Falling and injuring my hip, pretty much put an end to that. But his lawn stayed mowed to keep the city at bay as long as he was deployed.  

Instead of sneaking around and advising neighbors to report on fellow neighbors, this is where community leaders, district leaders can do the most good, bring about real unity, not false pretense of, and uplift everyone.  This family's situation, in the world of my great-aunts, great uncles, aunts and uncles, would have never been allowed to happen. A world where people actually talked to one another and reached out to one another. Today's world is riddled with fear and suspicion. Where anyone who doesn't look like us or fit some sense of social or economical status is reported and the process starts to force and 'weed' them out.  

I'm a private person who much prefers to do things in a quiet way. However, I don't know how to reach this couple or know if anything is being done for them to help them keep their family in tact. It doesn't matter if one or both might have some criminal record. These days, it nearly impossible to go through life in America without accumulating some kind of record at some point, no matter how minor. I don't live in or near this couples' community, but that shouldn't matter anyway. However, I'd like to offer a donation of $100 to help them in some small way. I'm embarrassed to only be able to offer so little, but it's all I have at the moment. I'm equally embarrassed to offer in such an open and public manner, but I don't know how to reach them or anyone who might know them. 

If there's anything going on in the community to help them where I can send to money too, I'd glad appreciate someone posting an address. I don't have credit or debit cards, so I can't pay online.  

Brenda Washington 

* * * 

Ms. Washington, 

Your generosity is appreciated. However, the situation is not about being poor. It’s about choices the adults made. 

If you want to help, call Child Protective Services, 237-0004. Tell them you want to give $100 for the kids you mentioned. Ask that the money goes towards clothes and necessities for the kids. 

That way your money will help. Otherwise your money will most likely go towards bail bonds, drugs, and other things rather than groceries, electricity, water, and the benefit of the children. 

Stephen Greenfield


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