(Photo by Flickr user Nick, used under a Creative Commons license)
Approximately 26.3 percent of Philadelphians are fighting to escape the cycle of poverty.
Those 407,500-odd citizens — particularly people of color — are suffering from social ills ranging from poor education, limited healthcare, unemployment, hunger, family instability, addiction, crime, incarceration, recidivism, homelessness — intractable problems that, more often than not, bleed into one another.
It’s far from a secret. Recently, MSNBC reporter Trymaine Lee and photographer Matt Black took a long, hard look at the city’s struggle with poverty for their ongoing series Geography of Poverty. The series aims to document “70 cities and towns connected by the simple fact that more than 20 percent of their residents fall below the poverty line.”
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Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia has a population of 1,526,006 and 26.7% live below the poverty level. Ken Murray wakes up at 4:00 AM to get to a minimum-wage job by 7:00 AM: "The only thing I can control is me." Jailed for 18 years, he has been out of prison for nearly two years but has difficulty finding steady work due to his history. “I'm 48 years old. Time is not my friend,” said Murray. “The way I feel is I will never have the American Dream. I will never have a normal life."
The long read highlights a number of Philadelphians, each battling a personal struggle with poverty from a different, interconnected angle. The story touches on gun violence, incarceration, unemployment, the impact of President Bill Clinton‘s 1994 crime bill and more.-30-
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