In spring 2015, Kathleen Stephan, Community Resource and Quality Assurance Coordinator, began looking into why so many Bread for the City clients were suddenly struggling to obtain an ID. This blog series explores how the system disadvantages people of color living in poverty, and proposes possible improvements to policies that are currently preventing many DC residents from obtaining identification documents.
If you follow us at Bread for the City, you know that last June, the DC City council passed the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act (also known as “Ban the Box”). This law protects returning citizens from discrimination from employers. It was passed thanks to the tireless efforts of community members, returning citizens, organizations around the city, and Bread for the City’s Community Lawyering Project (including our own Aja Taylor, who won an award for her efforts!).
Pareciera claro: si usted es un residente de la ciudad y no domina el idioma inglés, la ley de Acceso Lingüístico del Distrito de Columbia de 2004 exige que el Gobierno del Distrito de Columbia le proporcione un intérprete, ya sea en persona o vía telefónica, siempre que usted acceda a sus servicios. Hay un motivo para esta ley: el gobierno está para servir a sus residentes, incluso aquellos que no se sienten cómodos comunicándose en inglés. Al asegurarse de que los residentes puedan recibir servicios de interpretación, el gobierno no sólo respeta la dignidad de su pueblo, sino que también comunica información de importancia vital con eficacia. En realidad, todos salimos ganando.
It seems straightforward: if you’re a resident of the District of Columbia and you are not proficient in English, the DC government is required by the DC Language Access Act of 2004 to provide you with an interpreter, either in-person or over the telephone, whenever you access government services. There’s a reason for this law – the government is there to serve its residents, even those who do not feel comfortable communicating in English. By ensuring that residents can receive interpretation, the government not only honors the dignity of its people, but also effectively communicates vital information. It’s really a win-win.
Exciting things are always happening here at Bread for the City, and yesterday (Oct. 7th) was no exception! Nationally-renowned author of “Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day”, Leanne Brown, was at our northwest center to host a mid-morning interactive Q&A session with clients and staff about how to prepare healthy and delicious meals on a limited budget.
This is the launch of a monthly series – “Chairman’s Corner” – where our Board Chair, Paul Taskier, will write about a variety of topics that impact Bread for the City and indeed the community and nation at large. We invite you to Read, Enjoy and Share!
We have all just witnessed momentous changes in our national landscape. June, 2015 will long be a month remembered for the changes it ushered in, or cemented in place.
Normative Family Structures
On June 26, 2015, millions of Americans celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to affirm the love and commitment of same-sex couples who asked, in the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy, “for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260] “An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health…”
Along with Medicare, to which Social Security’s success is inextricably linked, Social Security is the most successful anti-poverty measure in our country’s history.
Social Security keeps 22 million Americans out of poverty, including 15 million elderly Americans, according to research from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and pays more money to children than any other government program. In the tattered remains of the American social safety net, Social Security remains of the strongest links.
But beneath the surface of this New Deal mainstay, there is a history, and a present reality of exclusion, discrimination, and loss.
In times of crisis, we all need to come together.
Bread for the City is comprehensively responding to COVID-19 with expanded community partnerships, continual medical care, and responsible and creative programming so that we can meet our community’s needs.
Will you help us with a gift today? Together, we can meet these extraordinary times head-on and ensure that all DC residents remain safe, fed, and supported.DONATE HERE