As a social worker at Bread for the City and Zacchaeus Free Clinic, I have had many experiences with those who are suffering. When I enter a home where the heat has not been turned on in the middle of December, where there is a 6-month-old child living in a cold, unfinished basement apartment, I see need. There are no doors on the adjoining rooms, just curtains. The room has a few small windows, some boarded up, and parts of the room are covered by fallen debris from the ceiling. I ask myself, Where are the laws that protect the least visible of our society?I chose to make a statement to get the attention of those who can change and influence the direction of our society. Too many people are isolated from the reality of the poor and those who suffer in our society. My conscience-pricked by my daily conversations with the people who are homeless, immigrants, or struggling with addictions-wouldn't let the actions of Congress go unnoticed. A senator wrote to The Washington Post earlier this year, Where are the people who disagree with what Congress is proposing? Where are the voices of the people who don't want to see everything taken from those who have so little? Here I am.
HEATHER WENGERD is a volunteer social worker in Washington, D.C., through the Mennonite Board of Missions.