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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

With poverty, hearing from experts is not enough


Lately it seems there have been a lot of documentaries on poverty. Or maybe I'm just finally paying attention.

FRONTLINE's Poor Kids follows three families who live between Iowa and Illinois. The majority of the documentary is told from a child's perspective. 

Sojourners, a faith-based social action organization based in DC,  has its own documentary called The Line. It details the lives of people who fell below the poverty line seemingly through no fault of their own.

Both documentaries share a common belief: there needs to be a space where people in poverty can share their stories.

That's a commonly held belief here at State of Opportunity, too.

Part of our purpose is to explore poverty's impact on society. To accomplish this we interview economists, public health officials, and academics.

But there's another aspect to our work. We want State of Opportunity to be an avenue for people in poverty to share their experiences about life near or below 'the line'.

We've already compiled some amazing stories from people around the state. There's our interview with Keisha Johnson - a single mother of two who is trying to give her children the life she never had. There's also our piece onLeah Rice, a nine year-old girl who used an audio recorder to tell her story.

We've given audio recorders to several of the families we've interviewed. Stay tuned to State of Opportunity to hear more from these families.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you. We believe conversations about poverty should include the perspectives of those living in poverty. Share your story with us today. Follow these directions to send us stories via SoundCloud. You can also click on the 'Share Your Story' tab above. 

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