Systematic Failure: A Recipe for Self-Doubt

What does it mean when our education system, “The Great Equalizer,” turns low-income dreamers into third-generation self-doubters? When a high-quality education system is built only to serve and advance the dreams of highly resourced, high-wealth individuals? Prior to my time at UC Berkeley, the formula to a successful college career seemed pretty simple. All you had to do was work hard, study and simply care about the fact that you’re in college. Despite the struggle to raise standardized test scores or generate funds for increased Advanced Placement courses, my South East San Diego high school produced ambitious, hard working, resilient... Read More

Graduate School and Kind Strangers

By the time August rolls around it seems like summer is pretty much over. School started on September first this year, that’s the earliest I can remember. If it weren’t for good people and programs that help, there is no way my family would ever have been prepared. I am a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus. For the past couple years I have worked as a student assistant in the financial aid office. This summer, that job ended for me. I am currently putting all of my focus into finishing my degree, so that I can be... Read More

The Sound of Class

The final days of summer always remind me of the time I left home for college. In an instant I can recall what I felt 25 years ago sitting in the back seat of my parent’s car, my belongings stuffed in the trunk, as we drove silently away from my home and toward my future. Home was Cranston, R.I., a suburb of Providence. My neighborhood was predominately white, working-class and Roman Catholic. In many ways I thought the whole world was like Cranston. But my parents knew the world was bigger and that a college education would help me achieve more... Read More

Changing Classes, Changing Vacations

I was born to two African-American strivers. My dad had been born poor and my mom came from people who had “clawed their way up,” according to my maternal granddad, from “dirt poor to lower-middle-class.” Family difficulties early in her life, however, meant that Mom grew up working-class instead. My parents shared a great love – of each other and for upward mobility. They intended to take advantage of every opportunity afforded to them by the Civil Rights movement. What does this have to do with vacationing? Everything! People often forget that how you spend your leisure time is a key class indicator.... Read More

My Summers on the Cape

Working, Not “Summering,” on Martha’s Vineyard Summer rolling around means vacations for many. But for others it means seasonal migration to restaurant and hospitality work. When on the Cape recently, I stopped by a Black Dog store, to check to see if the clothing was still made on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. A considerable controversy arose when the son of the founder of the Black Dog Restaurant and store decided to outsource the silk-screening of the T-shirts off the Island, eliminating precious jobs. The Black Dog symbol does not provoke me to reminisce on my times vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard,... Read More

Vacationing Broke

Being poor can feel like you’re stuck, and when everyone you know disappears into the world when they have the chance, you realize how truly stuck you are. When you’re young, it’s simple stuff like not being able to go to day camp, anywhere on spring break, or to anything but the free stuff you flipped and wrote essays for all school year. When you’re a young adult, you start to feel guilty for not exploring the world, for only being able to experience what’s right in front of you. You feel guilty about all the spring breaks you couldn’t... Read More

Housing Is a Right not a Luxury

While most of us know that housing in the Boston area is getting more and more expensive, you may not have realized that between 2000 and 2007 Boston was the most rapidly gentrifying city in the country, outpacing both New York and Washington, D.C. And the rate of gentrification is not the only challenge that Boston residents face. A study released in January 2016 by The Brookings Institution found that Boston has the greatest income inequality of any large city in the United States. Based on 2014 census data, households that earned in the 95th percentile made just over $266,000, while households earning in the... Read More

10 Facts About Housing Affordability

5 Things to Make You Furious About Housing 1. Realtors and their allies in government keep track of the growing size of single-family homes. But bigger is only better if you’re well-off. The federal government doesn’t track the size of apartments, but numerous articles predict smaller units. A 500 sq ft condo, anyone? 2. Want an apartment? How about engaging in a bidding war to get it? Rentberry (free to landlords) is a new app that pits tenants against one another and then adds a monthly fee to whatever astronomical price a desperate renter agrees to. 3. A recent issue... Read More
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