The first of what advocates hope will be a number of forums on child poverty is set for Saturday in Logan. Lida Shepherd with the Appalachian Center for Equality says the forum is a chance to put the issue in the spotlight like it hasn’t been previously.
“The rate of children living in poverty has crept up over the past decade,” said Shepherd. “I think it’s somewhat under the radar.”
However, she and others are hoping the event at the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College will start the tide moving in the other direction. Shepherd said 30-percent of the children in Logan County between birth and age six live in poverty. She believes with those statistics it’s the perfect place to start talking about solutions.
“Child poverty is a very complex problem,” said Shepherd. “But there are very real solutions. Doable solutions.”
Shepherd knows talking about a problem in a forum and addressing it with action are two different things. She believes this is a different kind of forum. She said it’s a forum where everybody in attendance will leave with a mission and a simple task they are asked to do to become part of the solution.
“It may just be writing a letter to Governor Tombline in support of medicaid,” said Shepherd as an example. “We are really wanting everybody who comes to that forum to commit to taking action. That’s how things happen.”