Poverty Is Not an Accident

Poverty Is Not an Accident
Nelson Mandela

Friday, May 21, 2004

email to my Department of Vocational Rehabilitation "councellor" (sic)

You are reading http://livinginthehood.blogspot.com

Yes, I forgot to call you. I have memory problems, particularly under stress. I did go to the station today, and became very involved in writing a news story. I'm now a reporter, not just a commentator.

I'm in severe financial distress, caused by a predatory bank that changed its policies before I had a chance to adjust my income for the month.

I have waited four months for Voc. Rehab.

On the day of that psych "evaluation," I had neither an operating scooter, nor funds to repair it, nor bus fare, nor strenght to walk across town and back. I also HAD to deposit borrowed money into my account that morning. So, I walked seven miles, round trip, to my bank, which is HALF the distance to your offices.

The day I DID see you, I explained I needed a bus token, in order to return home. Your office had none. Nobody seemed concerned for my health or my safety, so I didn't bother asking to borrow a dollar from any of you. Besides, none of you offered, although you knew I'm disabled.

So, I left and broke the Mayor's new law: I panhandled a dollar to get home. As I have a warrant out for my arrest for being beaten and stalked by a mental patient, I avoid potential encounters with the police. But there was no way I could have walked home.

I couldn't have made the psyche appointment and kept my bank account valid at the same time.

The appointment would have been five hours long. By then, my bank would have attached a thirty five dollar "fee" to my account.

I am volunteering in a completely alien environment, where I'm viewed with, at best, skepticism and, at worst, blatant disregard.

I don't know how to operate Windows, use the voice mail, work the fax machine, etc. Yet, I'm speaking to Senators, Congress members, nuclear physicists, members of the Albuquerque School Board.

I'm writing scripts for my news reports, editing the audio, handling the recording studios, and putting together news reports which my News Director says are worthy of journalism awards.

She cannot hire me as a reporter; I'd have to have a Bachelors Degree.

Now, if you are able to assist me with returning to University, despite the fact that I defaulted on my student loan, because my mother burned my deferrment papers, I'd be interested in talking with you, rescheduling a psyche "examination," and proceding with whatever beurocratic steps are necessary.

But I cannot put my physical or mental health in jeopardy to accomodate DVR's assumptions that I'm capable of meeting the demands of middle class standards.

I eat trash. I wear trash. I drive a toy. My internet appliance is a toy.

I can't get into a car, or onto a bus, without money.

I missed a good class in audio, back in April, because this psyche "examination" couldn't be scheduled before two months from our initial meeting, for which I also waited two months.

I don't need more people telling me how inadequate I am, while I'm talking to movers and shakers for news reports.

I am an incest and child abuse survivor. I've been treated like garbage my whole life.

I am trying to dig myself out of this bottomless pit I've been sledge hammered into, by the skin of what's left of my teeth, and my own native intelligence.

I will not be "medicated" with mind altering chemicals. I will not be further abused.

Where I'm working, I get yelled at. I've been hit. I've been insulted and humiliated.

And I KEEP going back, so I can get OUT of POVERTY.

Some weeks, I put in fifty hours, if I can.

I didn't call you back because I'm a flake. I didn't call you back because, frankly, DVR has been so LITTLE a reality in my life, when I saw your name in my email "in" box today, I forgot who you were, and thought it must be spam. I completely forgot I'd agreed to call you today.

I'm trying to write stories on: homeless women in Albuquerque, the new Department of Defense budget congressional vote, underrepresentation of Native Americans in news rooms, nanoenergetics and weapons-grade uranium storage.

I understand the subjects; I can write the stories.

But I can't work the fax machine, and I'm treated like second-class white trash by several of the paid staff.

Those are the facts.


Thank you,

Rogi Riverstone


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