A handful of black audience members at a townhall meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida interrupted a speech by Barack Obama and held up signs that said, "What About the Black Community, Obama?" and they ask a good question. A better question is "What about people living in poverty, politicians?" Like it or not, the issues of color are intertwined with poverty, though not exclusively.
To make it more interesting, the government groups the poor into two sectors: the "working poor”—persons who, during the year, spent 27 weeks or more in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose incomes still fell below the official poverty level and the non-working poor. The working poor made up some 7.7 million accounted for Americans in 2005 out of the total of 37 million living in poverty.
Of the working poor (16 or older), 5,477,000 are White, 1,694,000 are Black, 298,000 are Asian, and 1,983,000 are Hispanic.
Of the working poor (16 or older), 29% have attained less than a high school diploma: Whites 31%, Blacks 26%, Asian 19%, Hispanic 55%.
From "A Profile of the Working Poor, 2005"
All the "Yes We Can" in the world won't add up to much, if the void between the poorest among us and the wealthiest is not closed. A liveable wage, access to health care, improvements to education in the poorest districts, promoting reduced-cost workforce childcare, and more access to affordable, safe housing are all means to closing the gap.