Barbara Ehrenreich: Improving the Lives of Working Santa Feans
The discussion focused on how a local community, such as Santa Fe, could work together to improve the lives of working families. Community leaders from each sector were present, including Santa Fe Public Schools, Santa Fe Institute, City of Santa Fe, and La Familia Medical Center.
“What we really need to be about is community wellness, not just fixing people when they get sick. The first step is developing common understandings of the problems facing the wellbeing of the Santa Fe community, especially those at the lower end of the economic ladder,” says Loftin.
The focus then shifted to exploring the connections among the four sectors and identifying opportunities to align efforts in order to maximize the impact on the entire community.
“It’s about changing the dialogue,” says Joel Boyd, Superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools. “The discussion isn’t ‘What does Santa Fe Public Schools need to do’ but rather, ‘What can I do to support our school system.”
About Barbara Ehrenreich
Barbara Ehrenreich is a social critic, freelance journalist, activist, reviewer, and the author of 21 books. She was born in 1941 in Montana and is a graduate of Reed College in Portland, OR, and received a PhD in Cell Biology from Rockefeller University, NY. By the 1970’s, she was involved with the nascent women’s health movement and teaching at the State University of New York, Old Westbury. After publishing an article in Ms Magazine, she became a regular columnist there and with Mother Jones. Numerous books followed and then she published The New York Times best seller “Nickled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America in 2001”. Following a similar article Ehrenreich wrote for Harper’s, the book chronicles her three-month attempt to survive on the wages earned in numerous low-paying positions including as a waitress, a maid, a house cleaner, and a Wal-Mart clerk.
In 2005, she published in a similar vein, “Bait and Switch”, in which she writes of her efforts to find and hold a white-collar job. She is also the author of “This Land is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation”. In May 2012 she founded, with the Institute for Policy Studies, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, a website designed to place the U.S. crisis of poverty and economic insecurity at the center of the national political conversation.