Monday, September 15, 2014

UIS hosts "War on Poverty" forum

It’s been 50 years since the “War on Poverty” was launched. Around 15% of Illinois residents currently live in poverty, the same percentage of a half century ago. Universities, non-profits, and other organizations are teaming up to draw attention to the unrelenting problem. The University of Illinois Springfield is hosting a series of poverty-related events in the coming year. The first was a “poverty simulation.”

The poverty simulation allows participants to maneuver their way through a world that nearly 2 million Illinois residents face 24/7. A family of four earning less than $24,000 a year is considered to be in poverty. And it's more of a problem among minorities and women. A half century after the national “War on Poverty” was declared, Christine Westerlund says there's still a long way to go.

“The war has not yet been won, but you know - the thing is what we need to do is bring awareness to the next generation that there (are) still issues that needs to be addressed - inequality that needs to be in conversation ... This is really what this is, is heightening awareness about poverty,” said Westerlund.

This event is the first part of a 'War on Poverty' forum being held at UIS - a film and panel discussion will follow in October and November.

The series was spotlighted by WUIS Public Radio on September 15, 2014.

Listen to the story online