I recently listened to a podcast on food during the Great Depression. It was a lecture from Iowa State University professor Pamela Riney-Kehrberg (part of
C-Span’s Lectures in History series). Two points stuck with me most: Widespread starvation wasn’t caused by lack of food but by joblessness, and it wasn’t those who started off poor who suffered the most—it was the middle class.
How often do those coming from a place of privilege think they know best how to solve the problems of the marginalized? Especially as we as United Methodist Women focus on economic inequality and living wages, it’s important to remember whose voices to amplify—those who have experienced marginalization. They will be our prophets and problem-solvers.
In this issue you’ll hear about how the myth of scarcity has been used by those in power to increase competition and hoarding, especially in an economy where success = more. You’ve heard me say it before: We are people of faith. We know better. God has provided abundant resources, but we have not chosen God’s economy. You’ll also hear about deep solidarity in this issue. Beyond just being in service to or advocating for, we are called to be in solidarity with one another. Though the degrees are different, we are all suffering similarly in our current economy—stagnant wages, lack of equal pay, debt, family to care for with no support, living one hospital bill away from poverty.
It’s time to stop believing the scapegoats and self-blame presented to us by the wealthiest 1 percent (and the policymakers prioritizing these few at the detriment to the many). We can’t claim Jesus as our teacher and savior and at the same time sigh in despair that “this is just the way things are.” We must work to change these unjust systems harming women, children and youth. Together, we can.