Dear Mr. President:
As you near the State of the Union Address, I wanted to write again this year and urge you to use the opportunity to specifically address issues of poverty and to re-confirm your 2008 pledge to cut poverty in half within ten years.
The economic situation you inherited has made fulfilling that pledge difficult -- we have seen poverty increase to record levels -- but it is important that Americans understand that without your leadership and the policies you put in place even more people would be living in poverty.
Nonetheless, those living in poverty need to hear their president speak directly to them. They need to know they haven't been forgotten. Speaking a message of hope directly to families struggling to find shelter and food -- with specific policy proposals to reduce poverty -- will remind tens of millions of our brothers and sisters that they haven't been abandoned or left behind.
Sadly, during this election season, some are seeking to demonize those who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs, their homes, and even the ability to put food on the table. Churches and other faith-based organizations are overwhelmed trying to address this crisis as certain members of Congress call for even more reductions in public assistance programs during a time of prolonged economic crisis.
The National Council of Churches and the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ, among many others, have supported the Half In Ten Campaign to advance policy proposals to reduce poverty during these challenging times. Charity is not enough.
I urge you to use this State of the Union Address to speak of hope and change to the millions of Americans -- most of whom are children -- who live in poverty today. We need your voice in this important moment and the full powers of the presidency working for prosperity for all.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rev. Chuck Currie