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How To Become a Poverty Abolitionist

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Matthew Desmond (Barron Bixler)

The statistics on poverty in the U.S. are shocking and shameful: one in 9 Americans lives in poverty and one in 18 lives in “deep” poverty, defined in 2020 as annual income below roughly $13,000 for a family of four. More than a million public schoolchildren are homeless; more than 2 million Americans live in homes without running water or toilets. In his new book, “Poverty, by America”, Matthew Desmond, who won a Pulitzer for his searing book on eviction, strives to figure out why there is so much poverty in the richest nation in the world — and what can be done to eliminate it. The responsibility, he writes, is all of ours: beyond policies and political movements, “it will also require that each of us, in our own way, become poverty abolitionists, unwinding ourselves from our neighbors’ deprivation and refusing to live as unwitting enemies of the poor.” Desmond joins Forum to tell us how.

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Matthew Desmond, professor of sociology and director of The Eviction Lab, Princeton University; author, "Poverty, by America," and Pulitzer Prize winner "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City"


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