2013-04-12 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

By Ilyassha Shivers

This week I have been doing some soul searching. As I look around I realize one has to be an optimist. Things can appear to be quite dismal. If you take the old saying about the glass being half full or half empty you realize it’s about perception. As I mentioned previously, I am a stay-at-home dad. This is not by choice; it sort of worked out that way. After the birth of my first son Elijah, my wife and I found ourselves searching for quality childcare. Most jobs only allow 6 - 8 weeks for maternity leave, which is ridiculous, but that’s another issue that I will come back to. This leaves moms with a tough choice to make. So that’s where I pick up from.

They say that the economy is struggling to get back to normal. What is normal? Here’s where the hypocrisy lies. For a little while now I have been trying to understand this label that I hear pundits on television and politicians alike use: Working Poor. I looked it up on the internet and it said working people whose income falls below the given poverty line. So I began to look at this as it applies to the Rockaways. I don’t know the numbers, but by the amount of people I see still lining up at food pantries, and the number of people applying for public assistance, there is a significant portion of the population that find themselves in this boat. There are many seniors who live on a fixed income, but what about the families who work at jobs that pay minimum wage? Many families find themselves having to make hard but real choices: putting food on the table or having a table to put food on. The high cost of gas causes food prices to skyrocket. So this problem is complex and has many layers. So where do we go from here?

Our newly elected City Councilman has a tough road ahead of him. There are many issues he can choose to address, but the bottom line is we need to know what is his agenda, what is his plan. I don’t have all the answers, but a blind man can see we need major changes. I would like to hear your take. What do you think about the state of the working poor in the Rockaways? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I know we didn’t get here overnight, but we don’t have all day to figure it out either. Email me at shiverswave@gmail.com.

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