Poverty is no longer the bitter after-taste of the Great Depression as it was in the 1960’s. There has been a history of poverty through America that in past times has been the person or family living without homes in urban areas. Maybe you think they are panhandling, junkies and such. At least that has been the image that has been seared into brains through popular films and news. Today’s poor are people working multiple jobs, veterans and others who deserve to have their stories told with dignity, depth and dimension. The fact is – we can all be susceptible to life’s many downfalls and complex issues.
The fact is – we can all be susceptible to life’s
many downfalls and complex issues.
During the yearlong “Out of Frame” production, a documentary I produced about the working poor, we followed four Omaha residents from varied different backgrounds. All faced certain circumstances or hurdles that led to a lifetime of ripples and instability. Are they sitting around collecting checks, waiting for someone else to fix their issues? Not at all. They all love to work and strive to be self-sufficient, but due to life issues – health, family deaths, injuries, past criminal records – they continue to struggle. I became friends with these people and could relate. I, too, lived in poverty most of my childhood, raised by a single mother who came from a poverty-stricken home herself.
These people are not just another statistic…
simply giving money to someone isn’t the fix.
As I worked on this project, it was moving to see the resilience of those we followed. I realized two things: these people are not just another statistic and they forced me to be more awake, more compassionate, more empathetic. I learned that simply giving money to someone isn’t the fix. The government, your place of religious practice or local nonprofit is part of the solution – but not the solution. Go figure, right? I believe, from all I have personally been through and through this film process, that it will take us all to be true community.
We can’t rest when it comes to
finding solutions to this continued problem.
We are a community that has committed itself to not coasting. We can’t rest when it comes to finding solutions to this continued problem. How can you help? What is your special gift? Is it cooking, helping build a house, giving a ride, or teaching someone a trade or craft? Maybe you’re in a position to hire a neighbor to do some work. Let’s try, each and every one of us, to make it a point to do the little things that make the big difference – to not only ‘see’ the invisible poor but to take action to raise them up and help them improve their situations.
– Jason Fischer, Director/Producer of “Out of Frame,” produced in partnership with the nonprofit Together Inc.