Over the past 50 years, the highest-earning 20% of U.S. households have steadily brought in a larger share of the country’s total income. The Pew Research Center reports that, in 2018, households in the top fifth percentile earned 52% of all U.S. income, more than the lower four-fifths combined, according to Census Bureau data. Wealth inequality and income disparity has ballooned to even higher levels during the pandemic, increasing the rates of poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
Join us for an exploration of the underlying causes of these growing crises and ways we can take action to begin to address this powerful threat to our democracy.
SHAILLY GUPTA BARNES is the Policy Director at the Kairos Center. Originally from Chicago, Shailly has a background in law, economics and international development and has spent the past 14 years working with and for poor and marginalized communities: as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural farming village in Niger; as part of the legal team that successfully fought for Colombian waste pickers’ rights in the Constitutional Court of Colombia; with the Poverty Initiative and its network of grassroots religious and community leaders; and today with the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Her understanding of justice, morality and liberation draws on her Hindu and Jain background and her close engagement with communities of struggle.
SAVINA MARTIN is a lifelong activist and organizer from Massachusetts. She is an Army Veteran, and over the years has mobilized and organized around the war on drugs affecting homeless men, women and veterans in Boston and San Diego, CA. In 1993, she helped to coordinate resources to refurbish an abandoned “Takeover” home, which today continues to provide as a refuge for homeless women recovering from addiction. As president of the Boston Chapter, during the mid-1980’s she helped to lead direct action efforts during the Unions Housing Takeover Campaign. She is a Poverty Scholar, and busy pursuing a doctoral degree. She is currently a member of the University of the Poor’s Homeless Union History Project and the Eastern Chair of the Massachusetts Poor People Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.