Skip to main content

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.
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

    by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:25:11 AM PST

  •  It's a very sad commentary on us (4+ / 0-)

    I saw this at LG&M, and I wondered how this could happen.  I'll go with stupid and apathetic, and I'll also throw in ignorant as I point a finger at the mayor of Chicago (he might  not have anything do do with it, but I think not) and ask him if he knows who Jane Addams was.

    Your studies are paying off well, solipsistic, and I don't think you're solipsistic at all.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:43:46 AM PST

  •  Why do you assume they're Heterosexual? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

    by Cruzankenny on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:44:41 AM PST

    •  I'm quite baffled by your comment. Are you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave in Northridge, blueoasis

      asserting that the current power structure in the United States is not a white, male, heterosexual christian power structure?

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 10:49:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm asserting nothing. I had a simple question, (0+ / 0-)

        given the proclivities of certain bastions of heterosexuality that have proven to be less than true to their dogma, are you sure they are all heterosexual?
        My money would be on...NO.

        "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

        by Cruzankenny on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:33:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's sad to hear of the closing of Hull House. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen

    But I'm puzzled by this near the end of the diary:

    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'm a white, heterosexual, Christian male, and I'm also a liberal social-justice Catholic. It's not fair to blame the decline in social services in the United States on white people, or heterosexuals, or Christians, or males.  That's shallow thinking.

    The causes have more to do with the inevitable corruption and decay of large military empires.

    •  I'm not blaming individual white heterosexuals, (4+ / 0-)

      but I am blaming long standing power structures that are based in social justice theories.  Our current systems do in fact work hard to continue to support a white heterosexual paternalistic structure.  I am glad that you are working against that existing structure.

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:11:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I read the quoted passage as... (3+ / 0-)

      an indictment of a power structure which effectively marginalizes those outside of the white, hetero, Christian, male "norm."

      As you know, I have frequently called "foul" when the actions or words of the so-called "religious right" have been conflated to indict all people of Faith, and have not always kept silence in the face of what I see as Christian- or Catholic-bashing which so often ensues whenever a topic touches upon religion in this forum.

      In this case, however, I think the quoted words were chosen with sufficient care as to avoid those pitfalls.

      (I might quibble with the premise that "Christian" is still such a "norm" in this society so as to provide an automatic grant of privilege and/or power, but such a discussion seems too tangential to the point of the article, so my making any more than this passing reference to that topic here would feel like thread hijacking).

      •  Thank you for your sensitive reading and for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jgilhousen, Timaeus

        your sensitive comments.

        "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

        by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:18:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're very welcome... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheSolipsisticMe, Timaeus

          although I don't feel as though I deserve any gratitude in the matter.

          If anything, I'm in your debt, as your posts have always given me food for thought, even (and perhaps especially) when we disagree.

          I have also gained insight from some exchanges I've had in comment threads with Timaeus, and have supported some of his objections to religious intolerance on this site, and he mine.  That is precisely why I felt moved to share with him my take on your phraseology.

          At some point I might like an opportunity to discuss with you the current state of Christian power, influence, and privilege in America, and what role, if any, you think is appropriate for us Christians, and even our institutional structures, to play in the public square.  In fact, I am hoping that since we only live an hour and a half apart, there will be some occasion some day for the two of us to meet.

          In the meantime, I am content to read your stuff on the topics of your choice, and occasionally chime in somewhere under your tip jar.

          (BTW, in case you missed Downstate Democrat's Post yesterday on the Hull House closure, it prompted some comments I found interesting.

          •  Wow! You bring up so many good points, I hardly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jgilhousen, Timaeus

            know where to start.  First, I want to say there are so many lovely and wonderful Christians that are full of love and I hope that people like me will work hard to build coalitions with all religious people.  The part that sticks in my craw is when I see so called "christians" with power that abuse that power and use it to discriminate against marginalized populations.  

            I must also say that I am often humbled at many threads here on Kos, for I learn a great deal. With that being said, I am at times saddened that when I talk about race and gender and power distribution, I seem to really piss off a lot of people.  As a social worker it is difficult for me not to tie everything into inequitable distributions of power and to look at privilege and access to resources.  Sorry I got too preachy here.  I will look at the article Downstate Democrat's post.

            Thank you again for your kindness, for I don't always receive such sensitive and well thought out comments.

            "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

            by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:58:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well said. I didn't really understand the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheSolipsisticMe

        diarist's words, but I get this here.

  •  My mother worked at Christopher House, (7+ / 0-)

    which was inspired by Hull House, in Chicago in the 1930s.  It's still there, though very different. When my husband and I went to see the tourist part of Hull House a few years ago, it was clear that those who were running it, while able to spout plenty of facts and figures, had no clue at all what it was. This is a very sad story indeed.

    Five years after I chose my username, happily living somewhere else.

    by Tenn Wisc Dem on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:02:40 AM PST

    •  How cool that your mom worked at Christopher House (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jgilhousen, blueoasis

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 11:12:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was, actually. (5+ / 0-)

        She was only 20 when she moved there from Ozark, Arkansas in 1934, right after John Dillinger was killed. That took a lot of courage!

        She took us to see the place sometime in the early 60s. She was very proud of the work she had done.

        The summer she died, I was taking an independent study for which I was reading  biographies of Jane Addams and Maggie Kuhn.  Kuhn's biography taught me what a radical organization the YWCA was at its founding. It was quite special to be able to learn about my mother's career and share those books with her in her last weeks.

        Five years after I chose my username, happily living somewhere else.

        by Tenn Wisc Dem on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:34:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like some management problems (6+ / 0-)
    Mark Tisdale, a volunteer coordinator at Hull House, says that a group of employees might file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor on behalf of the about 320 Hull House staff. Tisdale says that the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan suggested filing the Labor Department complaint.

    Also, the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local 2320, which represents non-managerial employees at Hull House, might take its own action.

    “We are discussing our legal options to get back lost payments and benefits,” says Tim Yeager, Financial Secretary/Treasurer of Local 2320.

    “We have not had health care since January 15,” Tisdale says. “We were notified of this last night. People have been going to the doctor and getting medical bills they can’t pay for.”
    http://progressillinois.com/...
    Employees were aware there were financial problems but didn't realize they'd lose their jobs this week, she said. In November, employees received a paycheck with seven days' pay instead of 10. The remaining pay was sent in a check the following week, Faulkner said.

    Hull House still owes employees a total of more than $27,000 in expense reimbursement checks, according to union officials.

    Connie Mitchell, head of the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local 2320 — the union that represents about half of Hull House employees — said the organization violated its union contract by not giving employees at least 40 days' notice. The union is weighing its legal options, Mitchell said.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/...
    In recent decades, however, the association departed from Addams' reliance on private donors and turned instead to government funding.

    That dependence — as much as 85 percent of its budget in recent years — along with the inability of its leadership to adapt to declining revenues eventually sealed the organization's fate, those familiar with the association's operations said....When Clarence Wood, then the head of Chicago's Human Relations Commission, took over in 2000, he promised to move toward more private fundraising. But that effort appears to have failed to bring in more than a few million dollars in any given year, accounting for less than 10 percent of the agency's funding in most of the last decade, according to financial statements filed with the IRS and the Illinois attorney general's office....

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/...

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:13:32 PM PST

    •  Great additions to my post. Thank you. I have to (4+ / 0-)

      say the additional information, make me worry even more of what we "value" as a culture.

      "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

      by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 12:19:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have seen too many charitable institutions... (3+ / 0-)

      suffer after joining the trend of becoming little more than government contractors.  Having returned from the upper Midwest to my home state of Oregon a few years back, I am no longer familiar with the specifics of particular providers in the region.  I was engaged in church-sponsored social service work in Cleveland and Wisconsin immediately prior to my return, though, and am thus somewhat suspicious of how the Trib's coverage might be skewed by their bias against any governmental programs.

      I can also understand the temptation of the Board and Administrators of a charity waiting too long to act in the face of financial disaster.  I've been there.  There are no choices which do not involve abandoning people who are in desparate need.

      I'm not excusing stiffing their employees, nor do I mean to suggest that it wasn't a mistake to let the ratio of private funding to government contracting get so horribly out of balance.  I'm just saying that I think it is probable that the situation was longer in coming, and far more complex than the early reports and attempts at assigning blame reflect at this stage.

      •  You make very good points here. Running a non- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jgilhousen, ladybug53

        profit is never easy, especially in these times.  Where in Oregon are you?  I'm in Portland.

        "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

        by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 01:03:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  30+ year career in social service here (3+ / 0-)

        I certainly understand how an organization can slowly slide into this kind of predicament.  Putting too many eggs in one funding basket is one way. Also starting up big programs outside the original core competency in order to chase currently available dollars for popular new initiatives - whether public or private money. From one of the stories there may have been some of that, too.  the thing is, as iconic as Hull House is I have to think they could have generated much more substantial private contributions nationally, if they'd just spoken up. No doubt, though, after the shock wears off and the full story emerges it will all make more sense.

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 01:40:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh dear. Apologies if I sounded condescending. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheSolipsisticMe, ladybug53

          It was not my intention, and I should have reread my comment for tone before hitting "send."

          •  Dear heart, I have followed the thread. I don't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, jgilhousen

            think you sounded condescending.  You are consistently respectful, in my humble opinion.

            "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

            by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 01:59:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Typical on-line problem (3+ / 0-)

            No non-verbal cues.  I didn't take your comment as condescending at all, and now I'm feeling like I owe you an apology that my response seemed defensive or combative.

            from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

            by Catte Nappe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 02:03:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay, you both are cracking me up here! You both (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Catte Nappe, ladybug53, jgilhousen

              seemed quite respectful and quite sensitive.  If anything, I feel honored to have you both commenting on this thread!

              "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

              by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 02:06:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm an expert... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheSolipsisticMe

                at sweating the small stuff.

                My apparent over-sensitivity about how my posts here can carry a tone I don't intend can be partly attributed to one or both of the following:

                (1) I have frequently gotten onto the "civility hobby horse" online, and so feel an especially profound responsibility to avoid even the appearance of crossing the line myself, and

                (2) I can be terribly tone deaf about how my words can convey a completely different meaning than I intend absent accompanying inflection and facial expression.  I've been posting via computer since the horse-and-buggy days of dial-in BBS's.  You'd think I'd have gotten the hang of it by now.

            •  No, no. It wasn't your reply... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheSolipsisticMe

              except to the extent to which it prompted me to go back and re-read my own.  Immediately thereupon, I hit my forehead with my palm and thought, "Holy cow, I really botched that awful little piece of prose.  It can be read any which way!"

              So, now that we have both acknowledged each others' good faith, I vote we change the subject before I turn an even deeper hue of scarlet (being a member of that species which Mark Twain claimed was the only one which blushes... or needs to.)

        •  Yes, as iconic as Hull House is, I'm surprised, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ladybug53, Catte Nappe, jgilhousen

          saddened, and disgusted that it closed.  I am not blaming anyone that worked at Hull House, but I do worry it is a sign of the times and of the values of our culture.

          "A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back - but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you."--Marian Wright Edelman

          by TheSolipsisticMe on Sat Jan 28, 2012 at 01:58:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site