28 July, 2005

Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect
I went to a meeting today of the advisory council of our local mental health lead entity (I don't know if that is what they are really called, but with recent mental health reform everything has a new name or acronym and I am so sorry, but I just can't keep up.)

Anyway, there was a presentation by the Textile Outreach Coordinator whose job is to work with people who were laid off when Pillowtex (and other local textile mills) closed.

Silently, NAFTA and CAFTA stalked the room as we listened to battle-scarred agency reps talk about all they went through when the plants closed.

I really, truly had no idea it had been so bad. People spoke of tear-stained applications for assistance, flooded phone lines with overworked staff answering hysterical callers and trying to calm them, help them, point them in the right direction, of high school kids calling their agencies during lunch asking if they could get help for their mom, since they were afraid mom would just curl up and die, and of courageous near-retirees going back to school to learn something new and expecting a job to be there, waiting, when they finish their degrees...

It was disheartening. To say the least.

But it gave me a new appreciation for the importance of keeping up with the issues, and finding ways to communicate to people how that issue will affect them personally. Because of Pillowtex, resources are tighter. It's harder for everyone to get help.

NAFTA. CAFTA.

What impact will they have on you and the people you care about and depend on.

NC lost 50,000 manufacturing jobs from 2000-2004. 95% of them were in textiles, apparel and furniture.

50,000. FIFTY THOUSAND.

sfw

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