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Sanders best choice for city

DEAR EDITOR:

I knew heading into my first year of inner-city teaching that I was going to have my fair share of underprivileged students. I expected I would need to have some extra school supplies for those who could not afford them and a few snacks in a drawer for kids who missed the occasional breakfast. What I didn’t know is how truly poverty-stricken the city of Youngstown is for the very population that it represents and how steadily it would continue to decline.

There have been great fixtures to the downtown area that draws in folks from the Boardman, Canfield and Poland areas but doesn’t meet the needs of the families that live in the city. Our current system failed our population time and time again, notably creating situational poverty. If we do not create fundamental change or at least implement gradual institutional reforms, we are setting up a similar outcome for our children.

The following numbers should be appalling to you: Youngstown ranks No. 1 in childhood poverty with an overwhelming 56 percent living in poverty. These children are not receiving basic food, housing or health care needed for them to thrive. These same kids are receiving 100 percent free and reduced breakfasts and lunches and rely on local charities and organizations such as United Way or Diocese of Youngstown. The trauma that these kids are exposed to atop of all the necessities lacking creates a huge barrier to growing both physically and mentally. Grandparents are raising their grandchildren while the parents are working double shifts or multiple jobs. These same kids have so much pride in who they are and where they come from, and unfortunately feel as though the odds are stacked against them. We must fight for them.

Therefore, I think Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley need to get behind Bernie Sanders.

Sen. Sanders is the only candidate who has consistently fought for a $15 minimum wage while other Democratic leaders were settling for $12. He is proposing universal child care for working parents. He is the only candidate who always believed higher education should be accessible to everyone. Bernie is the only candidate who realizes we need a Medicare-For-All plan because health care is a human right. Sanders isn’t just catering to a middle class; he sees those of us at the bottom.

Sanders is running a campaign that is all about fighting for someone you don’t know. Let’s fight for these kids and their future.

ASHLEY RICH

Youngstown

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