35-year-old Arizona mother, Shanesha Taylor went to a job interview, left her two young children in the car and was arrested and slapped with felony charges of child abuse. Shanesha now faces eight years in prison, of which she’s plead not guilty, because of her attempt to escape poverty.
It’s being reported that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will not drop felony child abuse charges against Shanesha, claiming those who support her, don’t even know the details to her sad case. “First, they weren’t signatures [on the online petition in support of Taylor]; they were just a list of names,” Montgomery told the Arizona Republic. “So I don’t know whether any of the individuals in their pajamas who logged on to the site and put their name on there really had a clue of all the circumstances involved in this particular case.
Wow, so the attorney’s major qualm was that the Change.org petition that supports Shanesha, which received over 35,000 supporters and counting wasn’t enough to show that Shanesha’s case should not be prosecuted?
And don’t forget that there’s a fundraising site, created by Amanda Bishop that has raised over $111,000 to date. This obviously shows that Shanesha’s incident tugs at heartstrings and even the most average American can see that she needs support, not criminalization. She needs childcare and her getting a job was a step in the direction of getting that being taken care of. If Shanesha is put in jail, her problem not only perpetuates; it gets bigger. Her children will be placed in the system and they will in-turn grow up without their mother and maybe even continue the tradition of poverty.
As Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic notes, both the Arizona state House and Senate have rejected proposals to restore child-care subsidies for the working poor. “Roughly 6,000 children are on a waiting list for the subsidies, which were frozen by the Legislature when recession hit,” according to Roberts. Senate President Andy Biggs said recently that the lack of access to affordable childcare for parents struggling to make ends meet is not the responsibility of the government, which, he said, is not obliged to be “compassionate or merciful.”
Wow. So our very own people suffering in a country that is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave has nothing to do with the staggering percentage of the population who can barely make ends meet. 15 percent of Americans, roughly 46.5 million people, live at or below the government-defined poverty line—which, as most who work with the hungry, the homeless, the uninsured and the underpaid or unemployed know, is itself an inadequate measure of poverty. By more reasonable measures, poverty in this country is even more pervasive. Our government may not be here to be compassionate, at the very least they should be sensitive to the needs of the people who live below the line, which is most of us.
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