Letter to the Editor: EBT Terminal

In Re: BC tests interim food program (The Watchdog, July 30, 2013)

Thanks to those of you from The Watchdog for covering the efforts to establish an EBT terminal on the Bellevue College (BC) campus.

Establishing an EBT terminal at BC is a step toward ending systemic discrimination against an impoverished segment of the student and faculty populations on campus.  Establishing an EBT terminal is only a beginning and not an end in any way.

For those of the 99.9 percent who “have” and are either misinformed or ignorant about the challenges that those in poverty face, an EBT terminal is not an optional choice.  In order to legally use the EBT card, an EBT terminal is a MUST have piece of equipment.  To put it another way, what would be the value of a debit card if there was no ATM or other device to process it?

Without an EBT terminal, 1 in 6 (i.e. 1.1 million), Washington state citizens would be more desperate than what they already are.

For the over 400 BC students and faculty that are said to use EBT cards, the lack of an EBT terminal on campus means that each of these individuals must place more time and energy on figuring out how they will quell their hunger pains.  This time and energy could be better used focusing on their studies or their work.

Given that establishing an EBT terminal on campus is a beginning and not an end, it doesn’t prevent anyone from doing “way better by our students and our employees in need.”  Indeed, establishing an EBT terminal on campus is an invitation to do better, not to mention creating feelings of empowerment, equality and inclusion.

This article uncovers another revelation that smacks of the sort of arrogance and privilege of the 99.9 percent who “have” that makes ending discrimination so difficult.  It makes empowerment, equality, and inclusion harder to establish.

“I really don’t think it’s appropriate to keep trying to target [an EBT terminal] because it doesn’t fit most people for the 99.9 percent of us, it is not the right tool.”

Does anyone hear the echo?

For the 99.9percent  of us who can walk…wheelchairs and other methods of accessibility are not the right tool(s).

For the 99.9 percent of us who are heterosexual…the Marriage Equality Act is not the right tool.

For the 99.9 percent of us who have American names…the birth name given to you by your parents is not the right tool.

For the 99.9 percent of us who are white and don’t wear hoodies…

For as long as EBT cards are issued as a method of providing food assistance for those students and faculty who are impoverished, establishing an EBT terminal on the BC campus is the right thing to do.

For those in poverty it IS the tool that ends systemic discrimination while it enables steps toward empowerment, equality, and inclusion.

We ARE the .1 percent