JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The E. Boone Watson Community Center in Jonesboro was packed Thursday night as various members of the community attended a public forum on eliminating poverty in Jonesboro.
"It just shows that the time is right in Jonesboro, and Jonesboro really cares and really wants to help," Jonesboro Community Services Manager Emma Agnew said. "Everyone wants to help we just need to know how do we help."
The public forum tackled how to address and change how Jonesboro handles the issue of poverty.
Dr. Marcella Wilson was the guest speaker. She's nationally renowned for her work in alleviating poverty in cities across the country.
Dr. Wilson addressed a large group represented by various areas of the community, but she prefaced her presentation by saying the work she was presenting wasn't a cure for poverty.
"It's a starting point, just as we developed the first standard of care for diabetes years ago. It's in its embryonic phase," Dr. Wilson said. "As more and more communities get on board and start providing us research, that's going to tell us how to do it better."
Dr. Wilson's presentation included information on environmental causes of poverty like racism, food insecurity, and inadequate housing, among others.
She explained that those problems led to things like increased rates of diabetes, mental health disorders, and higher death rates.
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