Archive for poverty

Leaving the Street… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2019 by paulthepoke

I rarely share this experience, as it haunts me today in a variety of ways. It is not like the physical trauma that haunts me, such as some of the violence I endured, or the mental anguish of starvation, or the sheer exhaustion of being homeless and the need to continually be on the move. No, this is so different for me.

There was a time in the early ‘90s in Kansas City when I attempted suicide. I was back on the streets, hopeless, and in despair. This was one of my last attempts before I realized I just couldn’t take my own life.

I joined an outpatient treatment group. As part of this program, I would be given an apartment if I went and stayed in a mental health respite home. As you can imagine, drug addiction was really the least of my many demons.

Reuters, Claro Cortes IV

It is difficult to be off the streets yet not have money to get a soda or eat. When providing for yourself is within the scope of your ability, it is hard to refrain from exercising that ability. I had dealt with hunger for such a prolonged period of time because of drugs and poverty. I had lacked the freedom to eat whenever I was hungry, so hunger was something I wanted to avoid at all costs.

I wanted to feel free. I now had a place to sleep and shower daily. Even though meals were provided, having even a couple of dollars in my pocket felt empowering. Just knowing I could buy a soda if I wanted to, or purchase a snack if I was hungry, felt so, so good. It was natural to turn to what I knew so that I could have those dollars that gave me that freedom. For me and others like me, the ability to buy even little things for yourself is a new freedom that, when denied, becomes a trigger, making you desperate to keep that freedom and the ability to choose.

Plus, my value as a human being had been tied to the money I earned as a prostituted person for so long. My only sense of validation of worthiness came from the purchase of my body. As I tried to move beyond shame and find other things to validate my existence, I faced a twisted, deep, internal battle. People wonder why a prostituted person would willfully turn a trick when she finally has food and shelter at her feet. Yet the world of commercial exploitation is multifaceted, and leaving it is more complex than most people could ever possibly imagine.

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

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Exploiting Vulnerability… Christine McDonald

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2019 by paulthepoke

The vulnerabilities of others are exploited. These “helping hands” pose as if they are doing a good deed. Yet they exploit the disparity of the poverty of others by paying them a pittance for their labor. They get cheap labor, yet can rest their heads in peace at night because they have done their “good deed” in “helping the homeless.” I have to question the motives. They are not facilitating a chance to break the chains of oppression and poverty that bind these human beings. They are perpetuating them.

By definition, the exploitation of the vulnerabilities of those who have not by those who have is trafficking, whether labor trafficking or sex trafficking. They are exploiting the tough circumstances of poverty, homelessness, maybe mental illness and addiction, for their gain, which is cheap labor or perverted pleasure.

We have to acknowledge the intersection between poverty and homelessness as a place of vulnerability. It puts such individuals on a platform to be trafficked. Males are often labor trafficked, and females fall victim to sex trafficking. The victims often don’t even realize what is truly happening at the time. This is part of the cold injustice of trafficking.

We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this population. We cannot ignore that they are a target of traffickers who seek victims to exploit for their financial or selfish gain. We must start by recognizing trafficking and exploitation for what they are. Asking another human being to work for less pay than someone else simply because they are poor, homeless, and without other options is labor trafficking, and it is wrong. And asking another human being to perform sexual deeds in order to meet their basic human needs—the needs every person should be entitled to—is sex trafficking, and it is nothing short of grotesque.

Every person is a human being made in the image of God. No matter how desperate a person may be, he or she is not a commodity to be used!

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Attitude Check

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine Clarity McDonald

Christine is a requested, featured guest speaker for many conferences and outreach events.

Luke 6:41-42 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. -Jesus

Examine yourself and your thoughts regarding homelessness, prostitution, the disease of addiction/addicts, and individuals who have been in prison.

Ask yourself:
• Do I have a clear understanding of poverty and breaking those cycles?
• Do I believe “once a criminal always a criminal”?
• Do I believe that the most helpful thing I can do for a homeless individual is tell them of a job opening, or give them a job application?
• Do I believe that prostitution is a choice?
• Do I believe that the solution for addicts is just abstinence? And that if they just wouldn’t use all would be well?

I encourage you to answer these questions now.

Dear Reader, I pray that as you read God will open your eyes to see every person around you through eyes of love and grace through the very eyes of Jesus. I pray that you will recognize each and every individual, regardless of their  background or choices or present state, as the same kind of human—precious individuals created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26-27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

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