Spotlight Exclusives

Spotlight Brings Together Local Leaders, Clinton Rep for DNC Poverty Discussion

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PHILADELPHIA — Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity joined with Temple University on Tuesday to host a conversation among local anti-poverty leaders and a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign about the issues facing low-income people, both in Philadelphia and across the country.

In two panels over two hours at Temple’s Performing Arts Center, DNC delegates and participants and Philadelphia residents had a wide-ranging and often personal discussion about the key issues in the city’s poverty debate, including gentrification, child welfare, and housing discrimination. Rachel Van Dongen, editor of the Washington Post’s PowerPost blog, moderated the event.

Spotlight sponsored a similar event, with Policy Matters Ohio and Cleveland State University, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week.

The first panel grappled with the difficulty of bringing down poverty rates when local, state, and federal policies are often at odds with each other.

“Unless we’re going to increase the minimum wage, standardize work schedules, get to paid leave, get to universal health care, then local advocates can really only tinker around the edges,” said Donna Cooper, executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth.

Omar Woodard, executive director of Greenlight Philadelphia, took the opportunity to relate his personal experience in one of Philadelphia’s most troubled neighborhoods. Woodard’s mother was 21 when he was born, and he spent his childhood in deep poverty.

“One of the things I learned is that education isn’t a ‘nice to have’; it’s a must have,” said Woodard. “Whether it’s an associate’s degree, a certificate — any kind of credential post-high school, you have to go after it.”

Ann O’Leary, a senior policy advisory with Hillary For America, spoke about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s priorities on low-income issues.

“Not only will Hillary Clinton be the first woman president, she really will be the first child advocate president,” said O’Leary. “She started her career at the Children’s Defense Fund, breaking down barriers for children who had little access to education.”

This Storify captures the event highlights:

Watch the full event below:

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