Trying to survive at the bottom:
In the wealthiest nation on earth, millions of North Carolinians spend every day just trying to survive. Low wages, lack of investment in an infrastructure of opportunity, and an economy with rules rigged for the wealthy few have resulted in the lucky few amassing unimaginable wealth while children and families go hungry and struggle to get ahead. This moral and economic failure touches people across the state and is particularly present in communities of color that have long faced barriers to prosperity and security erected through policy choices and systems of exclusion.
This cycle won't break itself, it requires actions on several fronts. Hunger leads to malnutrition, and malnutrition has a direct and detrimental effect on learning and performance in the K-12 school environment. Which leads to severely limited economic opportunities as an adult, which brings us right back to hungry children. And a stuttering economy:
Elevated poverty for Black, Latinx, and American Indian North Carolinians, women, and people with disabilities is not just a moral problem; it undermines the economic system that everyone relies upon. What many white, able-bodied men often fail to recognize is how the dramatic income inequality that traps so many families in poverty undermines the health of our entire economy. Ours is an economy that rises and falls on the ability of consumers to spend, so when millions of North Carolinians can’t make ends meet, it prevents the economic engine from running at its full potential.
We can't fix everything, but the things we can fix need our undivided attention. Unemployment benefits need to be expanded (greatly), SNAP (Food Stamps) need to be more robust ($1.40 per meal is a bad joke), subsidized housing definitely needs to be expanded, and school cafeterias need to stop charging students for food, period. These things aren't earth-shaking, they're pretty standard in developed nations.
But honestly, as long as Republicans are running the show in NC, even bare minimum efforts like the above simply won't happen.