The gap in the US between the rich and the poor has never been wider. According to a study by The Brookings Institution, Toledo is recognized as the US metropolitan area with the largest increase in poverty, rising more than 15% over the last decade, according to the 2010 Census. If the trend continues, more and more individuals who have considered themselves a part of the middle class in the US will be joining the ranks of the American poor. President Obama calls this issue “the defining challenge of our time.”
Doug Jambard-Sweet of Toledo, a spokesperson for the group Move To Amend, is one who recognizes the urgency of exploring this issue. That is why he’s part of an ongoing effort to bring it to the forefront. On Thursday, February 20, The University of Toledo and Owens Community College will jointly hold a public screening of Inequality For All – an enlightening documentary directed by Jacob Kornbluth and featuring Dr. Robert Reich. The simulcast, presented by Move to Amend and Toledo Area Jobs with Justice (jwjtoledo.org), functions as “a powerful organizing tool in the fight to maintain the economic health of this community and to prevent us from slipping further toward poverty and depredation.”
Dr. Reich, the focus of the documentary, served as Secretary of Labor under former President Bill Clinton. He has since authored numerous books including 2008’s Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life and 2012’s Beyond Outrage: The Next Economy and America’s Future. Currently a professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, and active in social media, he maintains pages on Blogspot, Tumblr, Reddit and Facebook. As an effort to reach out to as many people as possible, following the public screening, Reich will answer questions via simulcast for audiences nationwide.
The importance of getting others involved in the discussion is not lost on Jambard-Sweet, who views the documentary as “a call to arms.” Meaningful public discourse on this topic does not come easy. “In this era of corporate media, it has become exceedingly difficult to publicize critically informative content such as Inequality for All because of the cognitive dissonance it creates for corporate public relations," says Jambard-Sweet. In order to propagate awareness on these issues, with Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Toledo Move to Amend are seeking endorsements and statements in support of these screenings from local faith-based and worker organizations.
Thursday, February 20. 5pm, University of Toledo, 2801 W. Bancroft St. 7pm. Owens Community College, 30335 Oregon Rd., Perrysburg.