Sabrina Shrader discussed growing up in poverty in McDowell County, West Virginia — among the poorest regions in the one of America’s poorest states — and how the high cost of education has affected her struggle to escape generational poverty.
“Poverty is not families’ or childrens’ faults, but the policies in our country and the way we treat low-income families as a society says differently. Living in poverty is a continual punishment. Water is not clean. Food is unhealthy and homes are not safe. I wholeheartedly agree with Sen. Sanders, who says it is wrong that in such a rich country we have one of the highest childhood poverty rates. Education and a living wage: That struggle continues for me to this day. Even though programs and people helped me to get this far, I still have more than $30,000 in loans to pay and it has been eight years since I earned my bachelor’s degree, and my bank account is seriously empty. The Democratic platform should include Bernie’s [plan] to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Other countries do this and so should we.”