On Monday, my youngest child, Lilah, was eating breakfast at our kitchen table. She pulled the newspaper toward her and read the headline: “Girl in the Shadows.” She stumbled on pronouncing Dasani’s name, but got “homeless” pretty easily.
My daughter is 5, and she can read the headlines in the New York Times. Dasani is 12 years old, and lives in one room of a homeless shelter with her seven siblings and her parents, who are battling drug addiction. My daughter and her brothers get a home-cooked breakfast in their own rooms or at the kitchen table. Dasani stands in line to heat up a packaged meal in the cafeteria. My children chose to give up their Hanukkah gifts this year so the money could go to charity. Dasani stopped wearing her uniform to school because she couldn’t launder it. My daughter is in a private kindergarten and my sons go to a public school with a nice playground, computers, and a PTO that raises money for the arts. Dasani’s school may lose its dance studio–the place this girl feels most confident–to a charter school.
How do we talk about this? As a nation, how do we start to really talk about the divide between Dasani and my children? Read the rest of this entry →