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Postcards From Third World America

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The response to our idea of crowdsourcing part of my book tour has been remarkable: over 150 people have already written in to suggest their group, school, or community organization as a good place for me to visit and talk about the practical steps we can all take to help each other through the hard times and strengthen our communities.

Some of the submissions read like postcards from Third World America.

Kelly Gallaher, of the group Community for Change, wrote in to make the case for an event in Racine, Wisconsin, where "the unemployment rate within the urban areas is easily close to 50 percent," "crime and drop-out rates continue to skyrocket," and the infant mortality rate is "among the highest in the country (some Third World countries actually have infant mortality rates lower than Racine Country)."

HuffPost user shylocxs, an associate professor at East Tennessee State University, says: "many of my students come from poverty, struggling with student loans while simultaneously taking jobs just to make ends meet while also taking classes. We have some amazing success stories, but just as often (perhaps more often) we have students who are unable -- despite their best efforts -- to succeed...All of them don't want to go to graduate schools and take on romanticized jobs or travel the world, they simply want to get that college degree so they can get a good local job rather than working in McDonald's and take care of their families. And some of them still end up working in McDonald's."

Renee_Resch nominated Oak Grove High School in San Jose, California, which she calls "a perfect example of how the recession is hurting middle class America. We are part of one of the largest school districts in the nation, East Side Unified High School District, and live in one of the most expensive areas of the nation and yet over 40% of our students qualify for the free lunch program. All too often both parents are forced to work thus weakening our school/home safety net."

And these are just a few of the submissions (see a slideshow of some of the others here).

We are going to continue taking submissions for another week, so to nominate your group, school, or community organization click here and hit the big blue "Participate" button over the map. Tell us about your group and why you think an event in your area would be useful.

If your event makes it to the next round, it will become part of a site-wide vote, where you, your friends (and their friends!), and others in your community can help determine where I go.

I really want to hear what's happening in your part of the country. Click here and let me know. Together, we can take action to rebuild the middle class and restore the American Dream.