The Fresno City Council's recent slim defeat of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit system represents a microcosm for Fresno's ongoing "tale of two cities" — both in terms of economic and democratic opportunity. Mayor Ashley Swearengin recently pointed out to Gov. Brown that nearly two-thirds of our city includes "poverty areas or extreme poverty areas." Nevertheless, the lifeblood of our city stems from an indelible spirit of hopeful residents who refuse to accept the narrative of separate and unequal sides of Fresno.
When President Obama comes to Fresno on Friday, he will visit a city that ranks: first as the poorest metropolitan area in California, second as the most impoverished city nationally and third nationally in rates of homelessness.
Proverbs 22:16 (NIV) says, "One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty."
We humbly suggest that the president visit at least one of our 22 neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. We also ask that our City Council convene a public conversation on poverty, inequality, and segregation in Fresno and how we can collectively work for a better way forward.
Rev. Chris Breedlove, College Community Congregational UCC
on behalf of Faith in Community Board members