Amazing Grace written by Jonathan Kozol perhaps has been one of the most eye-opening articles I have ever read. I can’t express enough how much I liked the article and how much it made me realize of the suffering taking place in one of the most “racially segregated concentrations of poor people in our nation”. It made feel angry and most all it made me feel a lot of indignation. Some of the points that I would like to speak about in class are perhaps the ones that made me feel the most mad about, and they are the facts that NY is seen as a great place, with amazing things, and all the time in the media we hear things about Times Square, Broadway and many other fancy and luxurious things and places, but what about the poor people, what about the people that suffer and aren’t as privileged as starts or celebrities who are always in the media? Who mentions them? Sadly that’s why people like me never had heard about places like Mott Haven, because they don’t receive the attention other things do get. It is not fair! Additionally, all the segregation, the lack of education and sanitary conditions, along with unfairness of all kinds, take place and the government didn’t and perhaps now they don’t do enough, but why? Why didn’t they help? Why were more sick and poor people sent there as if trying to forget them and isolate them? Where was the help?Now getting to the article, there were many things that stood out to me. It is definitely hard to just choose some quotes that impacted me, because overall the article was so touching. This article made clear the injustices that the residents of Mott Haven had to go through. To begin with, the level of poverty is so high that only “seven of the 800 children [in the town elementary school] did not qualify for free school lunches [and] five of those seven get reduced-price lunches, because they are classified as only “poor” not destitute”. For me this was such a sad fact, just to know that all those children have to get school lunch, because they do not have enough money to eat well. I can just imagine them hungry and this intruding in their education, simply because they were being segregated in a town without opportunities. Another part of the article that really impacted me a lot is the discrimination against poor people that causes waste incinerators to be put in their towns, such as in Mott Haven, simply because they don’t have the representation needed to stop such injustices. We don’t see waste incinerators being placed in rich neighborhoods, but instead in the poorest ones. The waste incinerator in Mott Haven, burned “so-called “red-bag products” such as amputated limbs, and fetal tissue transported [there]] from 14 NYC hospitals”. Originally it was scheduled to be put in the East Side of Manhattan, but it wasn’t put there because “a burner there had been successfully resisted by the parents of the area because of fear of cancer risks to children”. This really made me mad! What about the children in Mott Haven, what about their health? The discrimination against the poor shouldn’t be happening. Lastly, the lack of help provided for the people by the hospitals was unbelievable. In Lincoln Hospital, which was the one attended by the residents of Mott Haven, had at least “12 people, including two infants [that] died because of staff mistakes”. In a town full of sick people, people with AIDS, children suffering with malnutrition the only help they had, were inadequate hospitals, with nurses who took thirty minutes to provide help, and that worked two consecutive shifts nonstop.
As I said before this was the most eye-opening article I have read.
The image above shows the living conditions describes in the article. In this picture we can clearly see how the buildings are all next to each other, which made people not receive enough fresh air depending on their location of the building.
As it is states in my post, one of the things that impacted me the most was the waste incinerator in Mott Haven, therefore the image and link above show the residents of Mott Haven fighting to close the incinerator in their town.