The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Recognize and respond to inequality

Letter to the Editor | Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Few recognize that right beyond the walls of our campus are children who are starving, using pacifiers to battle bouts of hunger, children without pillows to sleep on, children watching their mothers get arrested on the front lawn and children witnessing murders as they walk out their front door. Few recognize that as we sit, complaining about homework, there is a child trying to read who can’t concentrate because they haven’t eaten today or a child who can’t afford school supplies to even attempt their work. And finally, few recognize that these are not exaggerations, but are the realities of growing up in poverty in South Bend.

This problem is not unique to South Bend, it plagues countless cities throughout the United States and the world. In Baltimore the drop out rate is 70 percent at some high schools. On average, children attending public schools in the inner city are three grade levels below their suburban peers. I can cite statistic after statistic to illustrate the disgusting inequity that exists, but I don’t feel it is necessary nor yields action.

Rather, I am going to ask each and every one of you to think of what role you could play in closing this disturbing gap. Many of you already tutor in the community and are making an impact right now. Some of you reading this have the talents and drive to participate in programs like Teach for America and the Alliance for Catholic Education and immediately make an impact after graduation. Some of you may one day fight to forever change educational inequity, and some of you, at the least, will remember these gross inequities and be sympathetic to the situation.  

For most of us this is not our story, we cannot directly relate, and sometimes we don’t want to believe. But it is the truth, and we are the only ones who can make a difference. If you are not willing to take action, how can you expect a seven year-old with no food and a shattered household to believe in his future.  

Kristen McCaffrey



Sept. 23