Dr. Jessie Fields and Lowell Ward on POVERTY, BY AMERICA

On Ending Poverty in America

By Dr. Jessie Fields

As a primary care physician in the Harlem community I see poverty in the poor health of many of my patients. There is no single factor that has a bigger impact on an individual’s or a family’s or a community’s health than the social, historic and physical environment in which they live. The book, Poverty By America by Matthew Desmond explores all of these interrelated realities.  

“…Black poverty, Hispanic poverty, Native American poverty, Asian American poverty, and white poverty are all different. Black and Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to be poor, compared to white Americans, owing not only to the country’s racial legacies but also to present-day discrimination.”

Ending poverty is a deeply practical way to address illness, social isolation, despair, violence, crime, and much more, “since poverty is a catalyst and cause of an untold number of social ills, finally cutting the cancer out would lead to enormous improvements in many aspects of American life.”

Reading and studying the book, Poverty By America, can be a very helpful catalyst for the success of a movement to end poverty in America. As others of this Politics for the People book club have written, the independent political movement by transforming the political process and bringing diverse Americans together across partisan divides, can play a leadership role in that task of ending poverty in America.

Dr. Jessie Fields is a physician practicing in Harlem, and a Board member at Independent Voting and Open Primaries.


Matthew Desmond in his book, Poverty By America, does an amazing and truthful  job of exposing some devastating truths about poverty in America.  

To add insult to injury our politicians  hold sham hearings in Washington in a vain attempt to smear Joe Biden and his son Hunter. No hearings on homelessness, poverty, inflation, mass shootings, etc.  Just a total waste of taxpayer money that should be going to fund some of the stuff Desmond recommends in his book.

I agree with Mr. Desmond when he suggests we create mass movements to attack poverty and homelessness. We also need to create action on the local and state levels as well. Also start creating and nurturing our own candidates for office. This is key to overcoming politicians selling us out. Right now congress is holding sham hearings to protect Donald Trump.  Nothing is being done about poverty, gun violence, LGBQT violence, etc 

Our politicians need to figure out better ways to get along so that things can get done.  As Americans we have opportunities and the resources to achieve our visions.  We can destroy homelessness, poverty, gun violence, racism and all the other ills this country suffers from if only we could learn to communicate our differences calmly and respectfully.  Compromise has to be at the forefront of any real conversation for change.

Lowell Ward, an activist with MA Coalition of Independent Voters, Founder of Build Black Better (an initiative to stem violence, crime & poverty) had lived the street life, spent many years in prison, and is now working to make the world a better place.

July 25th at 3pm ET

Join our host, Cathy Stewart, for a Virtual Discussion with author Matthew Desmond


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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