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West Branch Meeting June 21, 2018
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When: Third Thursday Each Month
Where: Belmont Village Senior Living
6605 Quail Hollow Rd
Memphis 38120
United States

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NASW-TN West Branch

June 21, 2018 Lunch and Learn

Belmont Village Assisted Living

6605 Quail Hollow Rd. Memphis, TN 38120



Presentation title: Blaming the Poor       

Presenter: Elena Delavega, PhD, MSW, Associate Professor, University of Memphis 



An article from the April 26, 2018 Memphis Flyer entitled “Wealth, Poverty, and Race in Memphis - Myths and Misconceptions” by Chris Davis quotes Dr. Delavega who explains that poverty itself is not the result of bad decision-making.


“People talk about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, but there are no boots,” Delavega says. “So I think, as a society, what we need to do is to create boots. We need to create the basis for the opportunity to exist.” Memphis has the highest rate of child poverty in America, and it's only getting worse. Currently, 48.3 percent of all African-American children in Memphis live with scarcity and, according to Delavega, there's a fairly straightforward reason for that unfortunate statistic. “The children are poor because they have poor mothers,” she explained at an MLK50-affiliated Poverty Forum, where the National Civil Rights Museum rolled out “Memphis Since MLK,” a comparative 50-year poverty survey.


Blaming the Poor  learning objectives:

Attendees will

·         Explore perceptions of poverty, and whether the attribution is on structural factors or individual factors; and how attribution may result in blaming of the poor for their poverty.

·         Examine how blaming the poor and the utilization of culture of poverty theories in social work practice may be contributing to the continuation of social inequality and poverty.

·         Learn effective interventions at the macro-level to eradicate poverty.



Dr. Delavega’s research centers on poverty, inclusion, and racial, economic, and social justice. She is the author of the “Poverty Fact Sheets.”

 1.0 CEU

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