Is Anybody Listening?

It’s time to put a human face on the disheartening economic statistics that we’re hearing almost daily. This video features students from a Southern California high school talking candidly (and without scripts) about how the economic collapse has affected their day-to-day lives. Unemployment, parents leaving the family, homelessness, scarce food — it’s all part of the reality they’re now living. Fittingly, this video project grew out of an AP lit class (more on the backstory here) that happened to be reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. There’s nothing like a good tale of materialism and decadent morality to get struggling kids talking.

There’s something of a happy ending to this story. This video made its way to Washington, and it resulted in President Obama visiting the school last week during his trip to California. So, yes, someone is listening. But how much will it really change the lot of these kids?

Lastly, you may want to check out this photo gallery called Scenes from Recession. It offers “some glimpses of the places and lives affected by what some are calling the Great Recession.” Stunning and depressing stuff, to be sure. But that’s our world.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.