For the infants and toddlers of the past few years, life in a pandemic is the only thing they know. Today’s children grow up in a climate surrounded by abnormalities. Yet for these children, the pandemic is not simply the curious background of their upbringing; COVID-19 has exacerbated child poverty in the US and the situation as a whole needs addressing. In 2019, 14.4% of children in the US lived in extreme poverty; this rate is one and half times higher than that of adults and 71% of this group were children of color. The most recent data in Virginia shows a child poverty rate of around 13%, putting the state 18th on the issue. Yet this past January, the child poverty rate rose to 17%, or 12.6 million children. Research done by UNICEF and the World Bank concludes that adults living with children are substantially more likely to report a loss of income and days gone without eating due to the financial strains of the pandemic than their childless counterparts. Generally speaking, the switch to online learning worsened barriers to high-quality education for low income families as these parents were forced to choose between employment and childcare.
The Business of Incarceration: How a New Bill Could Mitigate Unjust Fees on Incarcerated Individuals
A bill in the Virginia House of Delegates authorizing a work group to thoroughly evaluate how to best reduce or eliminate private fees levied on individuals currently incarcerated in the Commonwealth is heading to the Virginia Senate for approval.
HB1053 passed by a unanimous vote through the General Assembly last Friday, merely a week after passing unanimously through the Committee on Public Safety.
For many, the Virginia Department of Corrections’ policy of contracting out services such as food provision, transportation and medical care is not shocking information, nor is it inherently a harmful practice. Yet, the specific practice of allowing privatized businesses to provide food and other commissary items to those currently incarcerated now leaves such individuals forced to pay 2x, 3x, sometimes over 10x the amount they would for the same product on the outside.
On paper, I’m about as much of a Democrat as one can be. I have voted for the Democratic candidate in every single election that I have been eligible in, and worked on Democratic campaigns and for partisan organizations.
In reality, I’m someone who generally thinks that the Democrats were not doing nearly enough to help the working class even before the pandemic. They have no interest in reigning in the disastrous economic and environmental effects of late-stage capitalism, let alone dismantling it altogether. I’m skeptical of even the most progressive members of the party, especially after the de-facto leader of the “Squad,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, voted present (rather than no) on a bill to fund Israel's Iron Dome, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren proclaimed that she was a “capitalist to her bones”. Put me in a room with establishment party members like Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Terry McAuliffe and we would agree on very little.
Yet I voted for Biden rather than Trump and McAuliffe rather than Youngkin. However, not only do I refuse to shame anyone that declined to vote or voted third party, I believe that vote shaming only harms the most vulnerable socioeconomic groups and benefits political elites.