The New York Times is currently publishing a series of articles about a homeless girl and her family. Brilliantly written by Andrea Elliott, “Invisible Child,” describes a year in the life of 12-year-old Dasani as she tries to grow up and get an education while living in a shelter in Brooklyn.
I have visited shelters like these and Elliott accurately details the fear, hunger, despair, neglect, danger, and, perhaps worst of all, the humiliation that a child like Dasani endures. An epic injustice is being allowed to gnaw away at this beautiful, determined child and many Americans accept it as normal and unchangeable.
According to UNICEF, the United States has, as Elliott notes, “the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania.” According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New York is the most unequal city in America. At one end of the spectrum, at least 50 billionaires live here. At the other end at least 50,000 people are homeless, 22,000 of them children.
These are the “two cities” Bill de Blasio spoke of when running for Mayor. If he is serious about trying to bring them a little closer together, he should start by helping kids like Dasani. They are blameless, hungry, and in danger of toppling off the city map altogether.