Yesterday was a very sad day indeed. Hull House, founded by Social Work Pioneer Jane Addams, closed it’s doors. In 1931, Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Addams may well be best known for starting Hull House in Chicago. Here is the mission statement of Hull House:
Jane Addams Hull House Association improves social conditions for underserved people and communities by providing creative, innovative programs and advocating for related public policy reforms.
Jane Addams Hull House Association provides child care, domestic violence counseling and prevention, economic development, family services, job training, literacy training, senior services, foster care, independent living, and housing assistance for 60,000 children, families and community members each year in communities in and around Chicago.
Hull House also advocates for social and public policy reforms and initiatives that impact the lives of the men, women, and children in the communities we serve.
Now after 120 years, Hull House is closed. It would be delightful to say that Hull House closed because services were no longer needed–that poverty and discrimination had ended. Alas, that is so far from the truth. The truth is that the need for services continued to increase exponentially, but sadly funding for Hull House decreased at an even faster rate.
What doses this say about American Culture? We are witnessing multi-millionaires spending millions and millions of dollars to run for President of the United States, but we as a culture put up no resistance to social services for the poor and disenfranchised being cut by 1% Republicans like John Boehner. As someone who is currently getting his MSW, I am horrified that Americans no longer seem engaged in the battle against the inequitable distribution of power and wealth. We seem to have grown either amazingly stupid or apathetic as our silence and non-action, or voting against our best interests supports an all white, heterosexual, Christian, male power structure.
I leave you with the words of Jane Addams:
The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.