Tomorrow, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will present his proposal to address poverty in the United States. We welcome any ideas that lift more Americans out of poverty and create pathways into the middle class, but we will oppose any plan that uses the sunny language of "reform" as a guise to cut vital safety-net programs.
Personal reinvention can be achieved through service to others. This is Susan Burton's experience, and hers is an inspiring story of determination and dedication. As an African-American woman from South Central Los Angeles, Burton was incarcerated six times over 20 years for drug-related offenses. Her young son had died accidentally, and the system seemed to be working against her at every turn.
President Johnson died in 1973, a year before I was born, but his legacy of the War on Poverty gave millions of children like me a chance to live a better life. Poverty has not been solved but millions of lives have been enriched because of these government programs and that is a legacy to be proud of.
I hope we all take a moment, on this 50th anniversary, to recall that once upon a time, our political leaders proudly worked to end poverty -- instead of proudly campaigning on promises to erode anti-poverty programs. We must reawaken our desire to help those in need and open our eyes to the reality of life for the poor.