ED Thoughts on Poverty Awareness Month: Empowerment

Dear Reader,

I’m happy to be sharing the 2nd post of my blog series focusing on Poverty Awareness Month! This post if focused on fighting poverty through empowerment of affected communities and celebrating the work of great initiatives.

Thanks for reading, 
RAP Executive Director


I recently saw a video about an incredible young woman who has dedicated her life to fighting poverty. Her name is Veronika Scott and I was literally blown away by her work with homeless women in Detroit with her organization The Empowerment Plan.

I didn’t just love learning about Veronica because I love learning about amazing anti-poverty work (which I do). I also love learning about people like Veronika, and the work of her organization, because it helps me to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the poverty problem in our country. People in Detroit, where Veronika lives and works, are living without access to basic social and human services, and their neighbors in Flint are facing one of the worst domestic water crises of this century. The sheer weight of the problems that the children in these communities – and in our own – must grapple with every day can feel staggering. But when I remember that there are incredible organizations out there fighting to make the world better, I am energized to keep working hard to push forward through the darkness of poverty.

In the spirit of shedding light – not just on the problem – but the work of some sources of inspiration, I thought I’d share a few examples of organizations that inspire me the most. I hope that this list will serve as a broader reminder that the way to make our world a more just and equitable place is to work together, to support good work, and to celebrate our collective efforts.


Here is a list of eight organizations, right here in NYC, that inspire me (this list is by no means exhaustive): 

  • Opening Act uses theatre to empower students attending New York City’s most under-served public schools to reclaim their personal narratives, and to believe that they can succeed at anything in life.
  • Sadie Nash Leadership Project provides education and advocacy programs that show young girls that they have a voice, that their voice is powerful, and that they too can be leaders.
  • Theatre of the Oppressed gives communities facing discrimination the tools, training and confidence to become catalysts for transformative action and real social change through theatre.
  • Center for Anti-Violence Education works to actively create a more peaceful, just and equitable world by offering programs that build the skills and strength to heal from, prevent, and counter violence.
  • Laundromat Project fights for a world in which everyday people know the power of their own creative capacity to transform their lives, their relationships, and their surroundings.
  • Atlas DIY is a cooperative empowerment center for immigrant youth and their allies that redefines notions of power and community by providing legal services, leadership development and learning opportunities in a space owned, run, and governed by the youth.
  • DoSomething.org gives teens the tools and support to lead efforts to fight for social justice through the creation of hyper-local community service initiatives.
  • Urban Justice Center: Safety Net Project uses legal and policy advocacy to fight for economic justice and the right of all New Yorkers to access life’s essential needs.

What inspires you to fight poverty?