The Best Thing You'll Read Today, By Far

The poem that I share below will be the best thing you'll read today. Enjoy!

Julia speaks to our writers group at the Collegeville Institute.

Julia speaks to our writers group at the Collegeville Institute.

I had the distinct privilege of spending a few hours with Julia Dinsmore this summer. Julia is an advocate and activist, a mother and a neighbor, an author and a prophet. She is an artist and a poet disrupting our illusions about the those with material wealth and those without it.

She is giving birth to the future. 

You need to read her book, My Name is Child of God...Not 'Those People': A First-Person Look at PovertyIf your theology or your lifestyle makes any room for God's call to love those experiencing material poverty, you need to read this book. The title of the book came from a poem she wrote after a board member from a church referred to her low-income neighbors as "those people." Here is that poem.

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My Name Is Not “Those People”

By Julia Dinsmore

My name is not “Those People.”
I am a loving woman, a mother in pain, giving birth to the future, where my babies have the same chance to thrive as anyone.

My name is not “Inadequate.”
I did not make my husband leave – he chose to,
and chooses not to pay child support.
Truth is though, there isn’t a job base for all
fathers to support their families.
While society turns its head, my children pay the price.

My name is not “Problem and Case to Be Managed.”
I am a capable human being and citizen, not a client.
The social service system can never replace the compassion
and concern of loving Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Fathers,
Cousins, Community – all the bonded people who need to be
but are not present to bring children forward to their potential.

My name is not “Lazy, Dependent Welfare Mother.”
If the unwaged work of parenting, homemaking and community building was factored into the Gross National Product, my work would have untold value. And I wonder why my middle-class sisters whose husbands support them to raise their children are glorified – and they don’t get called lazy and dependent.

My name is not “Ignorant, Dumb or Uneducated.”
I live with an income of $621 with $169 in food stamps.
Rent is $585. that leaves $36 a month to live on. I am such a genius at surviving that I could balance the state budget in an hour.

Never mind that there is a lack of living-wage jobs.
Never mind that it is impossible to be the sole emotional, social and economic support to a family.
Never mind that parents are losing their children to the gangs, drugs, stealing, prostitution, social workers, kidnapping, the streets, the predator.
Forget about putting money into schools – just build more prisons.

My name is not “Lay Down and Die Quietly.”
My love is powerful and my urge to keep my children alive will never stop. All children need homes and people who love them. They need safety and the chance to be the people they were born to be.

The wind will stop before I let my children become a statistic.
Before you give in to the urge to blame me,
the blames that lets us go blind and unknowing into
the isolation that disconnects us, take another look.
Don’t go away.
For I am not the problem, but the solution.
And…My name is not “Those People.”

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Julia has created a wall hang with this poem on it. We have one hanging in our house as a powerful reminder of her message. If you are interested, check out her gofundme page.

Also, check out this video where actor Danny Glover reads her poem:

Posted on August 17, 2015 .