Abundance and Deprivation

“One of the problems of American abundance is that it conceals and camouflages acute deprivation.”
Sargent Shriver | Paris, France| March 8, 1969

As we approach Thanksgiving, Our Quote of the Week reminds us that while some of us enjoy the privileges of material abundance and economic stability, too many of us struggle to acquire even the basics to sustain life. This is especially important to remember as the economic distress caused by COVID-19 increases, and more and more of us scramble to survive.

In a speech he gave during a poverty summit during his tenure as US Ambassador to France, Sargent Shriver pointed out too many people were unaware of the pervasiveness of poverty in the US. Through his remembrances about the War on Poverty in the speech, we come to realize that the poverty efforts expanded economic opportunity in many communities, and brought awareness about poverty into the mainstream.

In the speech, Sargent Shriver outlines the causes of generational poverty, which we continue to see today:

“Poverty exists in America because some of our citizens have been unable for a variety of reasons to enter the mainstream of the flourishing American economy. They, and in many cases their ancestors, have been barred by racial discrimination, geographic location, illiteracy, lack of skills, poor education, bad health, malnutrition, age ...”

The holidays are always difficult for those struggling with economic insecurity, and they will be particularly so in 2020, as the upheaval caused by COVID-19 continues to ravage our communities. In addition to expressing our gratitude and our wishes for joy and peace this holiday season, let’s also consider what we can do to as a society to relieve the trauma of poverty in communities around the country. Let us continue to support and pressure our political leaders into building a more equitable and sustainable society, and let us find creative ways to help bring such a society into being.

Wishing you a healthy and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Like this quote? Read the speech, and subscribe to receive our Quote of the Week by email.

Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
Get the Quote of the Week in Your Inbox