Obama Team Seeks Support of Progressives on Poverty

The Christian Century, June 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Obama Team Seeks Support of Progressives on Poverty


Members of President Obama's domestic team addressed more than 1,000 Christian progressives at an antipoverty meeting in Washington, asking for their help to accomplish the president's agenda.

"It is shameful that we live in a country where hundreds of thousands of kids experience hunger over the course of the year, and there's no reason why we can't address that," said Martha Coven, a White House poverty expert, who drew applause during a panel discussion April 27 at the Mobilization to End Poverty, hosted by the social justice organization Sojourners.

Sponsors of the four-day gathering that ended April 29 included the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Oxfam America, World Vision, the American Baptist Churches' national ministries and Wesley Theological Seminary. Altogether, 23 denominations and religious groups lent support to the meeting.

Coven, who directs the White House Office of Mobility and Opportunity, thanked the crowd for its support of Obama's proposed budget, which includes programs to help first-time mothers and combat child abuse and neglect.

Van Jones, a White House special adviser on green jobs, said the president's plans for harnessing renewable energy will help employ those adversely affected by the current economy and will address global warming. But, he said, calls to Congress are needed for such plans to take hold.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"We've got to be able to go back to our colleagues at the White House and tell them that help is on the way, that poverty is not a second-tier or third-tier issue . …

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