An event hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus has sparked a national effort to confront inequality around the world. As reported by the Baltimore Afro-American weekly newspaper, also known as the Afro, the National Day of Prayer to End Poverty and Income Inequality on February 6 was intended to bring awareness to high rates of poverty among African-Americans.

“The specter of poverty has long haunted communities of color,” reports the Afro. “Nearly 10 million African-Americans, including four in 10 Black children, live in poverty and almost 12 percent of African Americans are unemployed.”

While the event focused on African-Americans, 25.8% of whose income falls below the poverty level (just behind Native Americans,) it also investigated how global trends in wealth disparity negatively affects already disempowered communities around the world. The World Economic Forum’s “Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014,” published in November 2013, listed expanding income disparities as the second greatest trend facing the world today.

“Widening wealth disparity affects every part of our lives,” states the report. “It’s impacting social stability within countries and threatening security on a global scale [and] it’s essential that we devise innovative solutions to the causes and consequences of a world becoming ever more unequal.”

Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima underscores the importance of addressing global inequality and emphasized its relationship with reducing poverty.

“We cannot hope to win the fight against poverty without tackling inequality. Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” she said.

“Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, the cascade of privilege and of disadvantage will continue down the generations [and] we will soon live in a world where equality of opportunity is just a dream,” she added. “In too many countries, economic growth already amounts to little more than a ‘winner takes all’ windfall for the richest.”

– Emily Bajet

Sources: Census, Afro, World Economic Forum, Daily Mail