Documentary Addressing Inequity in America

StartUpTown Weekend - NYC

September 2014 Harlem NYC

Make America Again!
Then Your Light Will Rise

And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. ~ Isaiah 58:10

Hope Community Services

HOPE Volunteer Coordinator Sue Gedney, 2013 New York State High School Chess Champion Joshua Cola, 94 years old volunteer Iris Freed and Terrance Jackson. HOPE Community Services is the largest food pantry/soup kitchen in Westchester County. Photo: http://www.geneshaw.com/

Following in the footsteps of people such as Jack London, George Orwell, and Steve Jobs, Terrance Jackson spent over two years homeless in New Rochelle, NY and discovered the power of empathy to fuel innovation and creativity:

I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.

It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising. ~ Roman Krznaric

Roman Krznaric - Empathy

RSA Animate – The Power of Outrospection – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG46IwVfSu8

During this time as a homeless person, Terrance developed a event something like a Harlem version of SXSW called StartUpTown Weekend. This will include the Health is a Human Right Concert at the Apollo.

StartUpTown Weekend will be a major focus of the documentary as we explore questions such as:
David Tepper

David Tepper

The documentary will also explore such topics as the top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an HOUR in 2012 — that’s as much as the average American family makes in 21 years!

Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. ~ Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson

The economic disaster was driven, Ferguson writes, by a combination of “very low interest rates, pervasive dishonesty through the financial system, massive lending fraud, speculation, demand for high yield securities, and not insignificantly, a squeezed American consumer desperate to maintain living standards, and told by everyone – including George Bush and Alan Greenspan, the brokers and the banks, that home borrowing was the way to do it.”

Charles H. Ferguson won an Academy Award for his documentary Inside Job.

Productivity is one way to measure the wealth of any nation. The top line below shows, we’ve been producing more and more per hour since World War II. The lower line shows average weekly wages (after factoring out inflation) for non-supervisory workers (who comprise about 85 percent of the workforce).

Weekly Wages and Productivity Chart

From World War II to the mid-1970s, those two lines danced together. As productivity rose, so did the standard of living of working people. But something big happened in the mid-1970s — the government adopted a new economic philosophy based on deregulation and tax cuts.

The gap between those two lines represents an enormous amount of money — more than $3 trillion for 2012, for example. Where did it go? In the early 1970s, less than 9 percent of national income flowed to the top 1 percent. By 2007, it was nearly 24 percent.

The bankroll that stakes the high rollers like David Tepper comes from the productivity bonus that we are no longer earning.

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