This Thursday, my staff and I will participate for one day in a fast organized by Stand with Dignity and the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice to draw attention to another instance of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s dangerous incompetence. Activists and religious leaders across the city are taking part in what will total 15 days of fasting, ending Nov. 25.
Jindal has refused to apply for a waiver of work requirements for food stamp recipients, which means that any adult without dependents between the ages of 18-49 who is not working at least 20 hours a week will lose access to this vital assistance. This new policy will have disastrous effects on the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens. Starting Jan. 1, 64,000 Louisianians are at the risk of going hungry. Our state has a higher unemployment rate than the national average. It is criminal to require employment to eat in a state where there are not enough employment opportunities.
As stated in the official complaint by NOWCRJ, “Loss of benefits may lead families to homelessness. Most people affected by this policy change are eligible for few, if any, other public benefits that would bridge this gap.” I have never known real hunger. Most of us have not. Our friends, neighbors and family members who rely on food stamp assistance to survive do not deserve to be penalized by our current governor’s continued attempts to bolster his conservative credentials.
We call on Jindal to file the waiver immediately. It is not too late.
Join this movement to highlight how hunger is an issue here in our city that is known for its food and feeds the world.
Jason Rogers Williams
New Orleans City Council president