Racial Justice Toolkit

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Access to Basic Needs for All

In 2015, there were 736 million people living below the international poverty line.
Everyone has the right to adequate food, water, housing, medical care, and equal treatment under the law. Too many in our society believe that poverty and failure to make ends meet must be because of personal failure. This is reflected in how poverty and malnutrition in any society is mostly preventable but rarely sees large efforts to fix the real problems behind the poverty.
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Around 10% of world’s population lives in extreme poverty. Many people who live in poverty are often victims of discrimination; such as birth, property, national or social origin, race, color, and religion. De Jure discrimination prevent those from acquiring jobs, the gain an adequate house, and health care. People with criminal records often have a hard time securing a job after release, and ex prisoners often fall into homelessness or back into the criminal justice system at a much higher rate than other people.
A study explored the migration and food experiences of Afghani women refugees residing in Adelaide, South Australia for 2 years or less. In the transition country of Iran or Pakistan, the women experienced trauma, discrimination, lack of social services and support, poverty, exclusion, and had familiar food culture but food stress. Because of this, it impacted their ability to afford food. In their destination country of Adelaide, South Australia, they experienced a sense of precariousness with housing and employment, socioeconomic stressors, unfamiliar food culture, and challenges of acquiring halal food (lawful or permitted foods in the Islam religion). There are 122 women aged 25-34 living in poverty for every 100 men of the same age group.
In Saskatchewan, Canada, child poverty for Indigenous families is staggering 45%, while their non-Indigenous counterparts are only 13%. In 2018 in the US, 38.1 million people live in poverty consisting of 10.1% of white people, 25.4% of Native American, 20.8% Black, 17.6% Hispanic, and 10.1% Asian. More than 160 million children are at risk of continuing to live in extreme poverty by 2030.
Almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees currently reside in Southeastern Bangladesh in refugee camps. In a study of 495 adults from July to August of 2018, they reviewed the experiences before and after arriving in the camps. Prior to fleeing Myanmar, citizens had experienced expressing thoughts, meeting in groups, travel, meeting groups, religious practices, travel, education, marriage, childbirth, healthcare, and more. More than half of the participants endorsed mental health problems like PTSD and more than 2/3rds endorsed levels indicative of emotional distress. the refugees had experienced similar things such as harassment. The majority of people that live below the poverty line are are from Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (413 million for this region alone).
The BLM movement has called for defunding the police. Defunding the police would mean to distribute police funds to help the community. This would go to mental health services, housing, schools, and other social programs. This is a way to combat homelessness and provide basic needs to those unprivileged. People of African Descent comprise 40% of the homeless population, despite being 13% of the general public for the United States. A lack of social security nets in global North countries make it consistently easier for people to become homeless than for the homeless to escape it.

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