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What is the Modern Tale of Two Cities? | Dora Anim


What is the Modern Tale of Two Cities? | Dora Anim

i'd like to tell you a story and it's a tale of two cities so i'm originally from accra ghana and i was raised in paris france so i've seen many places and many cities through my travels so i know about cities today i'd like to tell you about two cities that i've come across that are close to me and in many ways that i call home the first city is beautiful it's affluent it's a food lover's paradise this city has a fast growing economy gorgeous architecture museums parks nationally recognized colleges and universities and the people in this city they're great and they're generous this city is top 10 most charitable in the country this city is progressive a great place to raise kids a great place to live i love this city the second city doesn't even come close it is full of embarrassing and unacceptable inequities and can be quite racist in this city live thousands of people like dana dana is a wonderful server i met once while having lunch she's a black woman like me about my age dana earns 8.60 cents an hour and she hasn't missed a day of work in four years she has two beautiful children ages seven and ten and dana has to rely on government assistance to survive and that means every day she has to make choices between putting food on the table or paying rent she has to choose which child gets shoes on any given month and when she makes those choices sometimes it means she can't afford to take the bus to work and so she walks to work in the rain in the snow and the hot sun these two cities they are one and the same this city is cincinnati right here in this progressive beautiful city we love there are many many dana's that are not experiencing this abundance because they are stuck why are they stuck the opportunities for economic advancement here are few because we don't have enough quality jobs available and by quality jobs i mean jobs that pay a living wage to afford basic needs six out of ten of our most common jobs here do not pay a living wage the result is that most of the kids half of the kids under five in this city are living in poverty half we have families that are living in cost-burdened homes meaning they are spending 30 or more of their income on housing that leaves little pay for food transportation health care gas and we pride ourselves on being this great place to live yet many people who live here can't afford to live here this tale of cincinnati is the tale of america this story exists in every major city in this country why do we tolerate this more and more communities are experiencing this and it's becoming alarmingly worse for people of color i work at greater cincinnati foundation and we commissioned policy link a research institute to conduct a study for us this study revealed that today the majority of babies born are babies of color that means in just 24 years this country will be majority people of color think about it you might say 24 years it's far away no not really just 24 years ago it was 1996 and movies like independence day and jerry maguire had just been released remember you had me at hello who can forget that so as we move to majority people of color we have got to find solutions that disrupt this growing racial disparity or dana's story will become the dominant experience and this city this progressive city we love will cease to exist for all of us and don't get me wrong dana does not need our pity or handout she's strong she's resilient it's the public policies we put in place and the laws that defend people at work affirmative action and the rules that raise minimum wage investing in public schools community colleges boosting black entrepreneurs these are the systemic solutions that will provide a platform for dana to succeed we support models like the family independence initiative designed to move families out of poverty by trusting them by getting capital directly into their hands when given resources families are making decisions that are best for them just like you make decisions that are best for your families we have stories like the perez family who couldn't afford to buy a bed and with an extra 500 a month and setting goals they now have savings accounts for their kids and they are building their credit through lending circles we have cynthia who lived in a mold infected home and now is launching her jury business taking care of her family living her dream using the same