This piece is part of the Minnesota installment of the “Advocating on the Road” blog series.

Minnesotan Julia Dinsmore has known poverty all of her life and is no stranger to homelessness. Her childhood was marked by frequent moves, chaos and episodes of violence — her mother struggled with mental illness, her father with alcoholism. As an adult, she has struggled to support herself and her three sons through insurmountable medical needs and expenses. “My dream is to earn enough money so I can get myself situated and help my kids and grandkids,” she says.

Julia uses her gifts in creative storytelling, music and poetry to educate others on the effects of poverty. Below is a link to a video presentation of her poem, “My Name is Not ‘Those People’”, which speaks to the importance of remembering the human stories and realities behind issues that are often looked at solely through a policy lens. 

As Christians, we must continually ask ourselves what was asked of Christ: “Who is my neighbor?” We must also ask ourselves, do I think of my neighbor as “the other”? Does my voice, and my vote, build a wall between myself and “those people”?