Homeless mom who left kids in car during interview faces 8 years
By Danielle Young
Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Defender
35-year-old Arizona mother, Shanesha Taylor went to a job interview, left her two young children in the car and was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. Taylor now faces eight years in prison, of which she’s plead not guilty, because of her attempt to escape poverty.
It’s being reported that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will not drop felony child abuse charges against Shanesha, claiming those who support her, don’t even know the details to her sad case. “First, there weren’t signatures (on the online petition in support of Taylor); they were just a list of names,” Montgomery told the Arizona Republic. “So I don’t know whether any of the individuals in their pajamas who logged on to the site and put their name on there really had a clue of all the circumstances involved in this particular case.
Wow, so the attorney’s major qualm was the Change.org petition that supports Shanesha, which received over 35,000 supporters and counting, wasn’t enough to show Shanesha’s case should not be prosecuted?
And don’t forget there’s a fundraising site, created by Amanda Bishop that has raised over $111,000 to date. This obviously shows Shanesha’s incident tugs at heartstrings and even the most average American can see she needs support, not criminalization. She needs childcare and her getting a job was a step in that direction. If Shanesha is put in jail, her problem not only perpetuates, it gets bigger. Her children will be placed in the system and they will grow up without their mother and maybe even continue the tradition of poverty.
As Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic notes, both the Arizona state House and Senate have rejected proposals to restore child-care subsidies for the working poor. “Roughly 6,000 children are on a waiting list for the subsidies, which were frozen by the Legislature when recession hit,” according to Roberts.
Senate President Andy Biggs said recently the lack of access to affordable childcare for parents struggling to make ends meet is not the responsibility of the government, which, he said, is not obliged to be “compassionate or merciful.”
In other words, our very own people suffering in a country that is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave has nothing to do with the staggering percentage of the population who can barely make ends meet.
Fifteen percent of Americans, roughly 46.5 million people, live at or below the government-defined poverty line, which, as most who work with the hungry, the homeless, the uninsured and the underpaid or unemployed know, is itself an inadequate measure of poverty. By more reasonable measures, poverty in this country is even more pervasive. Our government may not be here to be compassionate, but at the very least they should be sensitive to the needs of the people who live below the poverty line, which is most of us.