Bread for the City Managing Attorney Rebecca Lindhurst received the Washington Council of Lawyers 2015 Legal Services Award last Wednesday night. This recognition is well-deserved, a long time coming, and all of us at Bread couldn’t be more proud of her.
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.
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.
Race, Politics, and the Bogus Fight over Reallocation
Chris Jordan worked all his life. Mr. Jordan (a pseudonym) is a 52 years old African-American man and suffers from congestive heart failure. He grew up near Bread for the City’s Northwest Center and used to play basketball at the Kennedy playground, which has since become the Kennedy Recreation Center.
Forced Annuitization and the Grim Realities of Racial Health Disparities
“You just get out what they put in/But they never put in enough” —Stephen Merritt, The Magnetic Fields
Social Security redistributes money from African-Americans to white Americans. This claim might sound outrageous to those with prejudiced views of public benefits and those who understand the effects of Social Security’s progressive benefits formula, but it nonetheless is true, according to a 2013 paper by C Eugene Steurle, Karen E. Smith, and Caleb Quakenbush of the Urban Institute.