I've been trying to come up with a simple explanation for why we are engaged in the Tent City Project that gets beyond what I think are the obvious artistic possibilities and offers a shorthand of the human reasons. This column by Marion Wright Edelman, an advocate for children and anti poverty causes, offers a glimpse into what attracted me -- and I believe both Sherry and Jack, as well -- to Lakewood.
Edelman describes a report from UNICEF on child poverty that
showed the United States ranks second out of 35 developed countries on the scale of what economists call “relative child poverty” with 23.1 percent of its children living in poverty. Only Romania ranked higher.
It is, as she points out, "another shameful reminder" of what "economist Sheldon Danziger put it":
“Among rich countries, the U.S. is exceptional. We are exceptional in our tolerance of poverty.”
It's this quotation that, for me, sums up some of my motivation. I am hoping that, through our collaborative art project, we can break down some of that tolerance.