Journalist on learning for herself: ‘poverty is a circumstance, not a value judgement’
Darlena Cunha wrote Tuesday about finding herself driving a Mercedes to pick up food stamps. Cunha wrote about a series of big changes in her life for The Washington Post.
In 2007, Cunha took a new job as a producer in Boston. The following year, she discovered she was pregnant with twins. Then, the recession hit.
The weeks flew by. My boyfriend proposed, and we bought a house. Then, just three weeks after we closed, the market crashed. The house we’d paid $240,000 for was suddenly worth $150,000. It was okay, though — we were still making enough money to cover the exorbitant mortgage payments. Then we weren’t.
Now, Cunha is a freelance journalist who blogs at parentwin.com and has written for The Huffington Post, among other places. Her family's finances are back on track.
But what I learned there will never leave me. We didn’t deserve to be poor, any more than we deserved to be rich. Poverty is a circumstance, not a value judgement. I still have to remind myself sometimes that I was my harshest critic. That the judgement of the disadvantaged comes not just from conservative politicians and Internet trolls. It came from me, even as I was living it.