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by Judy Joy Jones

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he U.S. budget cuts currently being considered by Congress would cause irreparable harm to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, low-income housing, as well as to medical clinics offering services to the poor. If passed, these cuts will put millions of elderly, physically disabled and mentally challenged people, children and poor families on the streets. Where are the voices of truth and justice?

Martin Luther King, Jr. Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

If each person in the White House, Senate and Congress were asked to fully disclose the ways in which they — along with their family members, relatives and friends — had benefited as recipients of the social services the United States provides, would even one remain silent?
Ironically, many of the people in power who are supporting these cutbacks have benefited greatly in their own lives and careers from the laws enacted to provide for the most vulnerable in our society.
If these budget cuts are passed, the nation’s safety net will be all but demolished, and many vitally needed social services will be extinguished. Can you imagine a 90-year-old person on Social Security being offered a voucher instead of their monthly check? Most would not be able to get through the first page of instructions or know where to turn for help. If the budget cuts include eliminating heating assistance to low-income individuals, we will find many bodies frozen to death inside homes.
Can a civilized nation accept the draconian measures being proposed by the Congress at this very moment? Can anyone with a spark of humanity support a budget that allows the most destitute to die on the street, rather than helping them?
There must be an elected official willing to resign rather then take part in the barbaric methods being used by a government determined to rip away everything that the poor need most to survive.
What would Dr. Martin Luther King have done? Would he have spoken out fearlessly for the millions of people whose very lives will be imperiled if the U.S. government approves the pending budgetary cuts to our social services?
We know the answer. King gave his very life in fighting the economic injustice of poverty and homelessness. In his last days on earth, King organized a Poor People’s Campaign to pressure the U.S. government to provide affordable housing, full employment, health care for all, and a decent income for those unable to work.
King stayed true to that vision, even though it meant his own life. He gave his life while organizing for many of the same services that are now threatened by the ruthless budget cuts proposed in Congress.
Martin Luther King’s voice for freedom and truth was so powerful it shook mountains and the whole earth listened. Millions rose that had never walked and those with no hope left rejoiced and started back up the mountain because once more the top was in sight!
Today former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Roslyn, both in their latter years, are building houses around the world for homeless people. They are choosing to put their love for others into action.
We are the people of this earth and each of us deserves to be treated with loving dignity — this includes food, shelter, clothing and medical aid.
Would God’s voice ever guide us to put boulders in front of the most vulnerable so that they will stumble and fall?
No, and I believe Dr. Martin Luther King heard God’s voice loudly and clearly when he helped us remember who we are and what we were created for: love and mercy and justice.




Bearing Witness

by Kisha Montgomery

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hey are waiting outside the check cashing store. I wonder what they are waiting for. She is in a wheelchair and I glimpse her, wonder about her story. She is a shell of a woman now, something was taken that was core and true and now what remains is a complex tangle of hair and dampened blue eyes.
He is invisible behind the shadow that grows on his face. Transparent fingernails reveal dirt and his clothes reveal neglect. They both have been forgotten.
As I am standing in line waiting to pick up money that has been wired to me, I overhear them. She is wondering where they are going to sleep and what they are going to eat.
He tells her, “You are always complaining.”
She gets defensive, “No I am not!”
He says, “Yes, you are. You always ask too many questions.”
She said, “What are we going to do?”
He falls silent. She falls silent. They fall silent. There is no answer. Nothing to do except wait for an idea to come.