Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc began her firsthand reporting about the sprawling reach of poverty in the Bronx back in the 1990s, and continued that work for more than a decade. Then she published the book “Random Family,” which is a focused analysis and observation of poverty on a micro level of day-to-day struggles. She illuminates the depth of poverty’s universal reach, including mass incarceration and the conspicuous lack of judicial autonomy in minimum sentencing stemming from the War on Drugs.
She also explores the challenges of those who want to thrive despite their circumstances, and the relationships people in that community build and nurture through shared generosity. She refers to this kind of close-knit community as a “random family” of caring people who come together to support each other in the struggle against multi-generational poverty.
Through the experience of one single family, LeBlanc exposes harsh truths about difficulties faced in other poverty-stricken communities and neighborhoods, including some right here in Asheville.
Although they are 700 miles away in a completely different kind of city, OpenDoors families nevertheless face obstacles just like those described in this poignant book. But thanks to the ongoing support of active, aware volunteers and supporters, OpenDoors has created its own version of the “random family.” By collaborating to find the best solutions for a student, a family and the broader community we can build a sustainable foundation to implement practical, lasting solutions that effectively neutralize the worst impacts of poverty.
Investment in the future of OpenDoors families comes from a diverse network of individual donors, volunteers, sponsors, and partnerships which strengthen our community. Your investment does the same. We are so grateful for these gifts, which are vital to us in our ongoing effort to overcome the system of poverty while empowering these families to contribute their own unique gifts and talents for the betterment of everyone.
“The hardships of these young people and their families are not unusual in their neighborhoods. Neither are their gifts.” – Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
Photography by Katherine Brooks