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Dear Newt Gingrich

Dear Newt Gingrich,

I am an Americorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America – a federally funded program started by John F. Kennedy) at South Atlanta High School. I teach two AP US History classes, tutor, manage a caseload of 40 boys as an “academic coach,” and serve as needed in the myriad ways help is needed at a public high school in the southside of Atlanta. 99% of the students at South Atlanta High qualify for free or reduced meals, which means that 99% of the students at South Atlanta High are very poor. Also, 99% of the students at South Atlanta High are black.

I plan on writing a succession of letters to you over the course of the next few months, because I would like to share with you my experiences working with an impoverished minority community in the United States. The comments I have heard you make recently reflect on your knowledge of disadvantaged communities in the country you are running for president. Since you seem to have made this area a major platform for your campaign for presidency, I thought I’d offer some constructive criticism.

Barack Obama is the “food stamp president,” according to you, because more people have enrolled on the food stamp program than in any other time in United States history. Of course, we have more people in this country now than at any time in its history, and we’ve endured an historic recession, the likes of which ...