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Press Release: NETWORK Calls for Candidates to Respond to Crisis of Millions of People in Poverty

FOR RELEASE: September 12, 2012 

CONTACT:  Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224, sniedringhaus@networklobby.org

Washington DC:  In response to today’s U.S. Census Bureau’s release of the 2011 poverty statistics, Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, stated: “The fact that 46.2 million people struggle in poverty while income inequality increases underscores the grim fact that our country is a long way from achieving economic justice. With some urgency, I am calling on all political candidates to fully address this crisis by responding to this simple question: ‘What will YOU do to address current poverty rates in our country?’”

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, also released the following statement:

We are deeply disturbed by Washington’s continued inability to effectively address our nation’s poverty rates, as evidenced by today’s release of official poverty statistics. How can anyone ignore the fact that more than 46 million people live in poverty in this wealthy nation?

Breaking down racial/ethnic differences also reveals these deeply disturbing facts: 9.8% of White/non-Hispanic people live in poverty, compared with more than 27% of Blacks and 25% of Hispanics. 

While shocking, these statistics are no surprise for those of us who work with people at the economic margins and who stand in solidarity with them. As we talked about during our Nuns on the Bus tour, faith-based service agencies are currently struggling to meet the needs of millions of poverty-stricken families. This makes it even more appalling that Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget and other congressional budget proposals would result in deep cuts to programs that help people in need.

It is time that Congress fully understand that we are a compassionate people - instead of the selfish people they portray. Calling for tax cuts for the wealthy while millions suffer in poverty is beyond unconscionable. Our nation is better than that.