CAREY KERSTEN | September 23, 2015
The mission of Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation is to create safe and stable homes and families by inspiring attorneys to fight for equal justice. It is clear that an important extension of this work is to promote a clear understanding of the lives of the families and individuals served through AVLF’s programs. To that end, AVLF launched a film series in 2014 to start a dialogue about poverty in America, poverty in Atlanta, and the barriers it creates for too many of our neighbors. On Monday, September 21, AVLF hosted the second installment of AVLF at the Movies and featured the groundbreaking HBO Documentary Film Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert. Over 200 friends of AVLF attended the powerful documentary chronicling the daily struggle of a working mother of three, Katrina Gilbert.
The movie offers a deeply personal, unvarnished, and moving story of Katrina as she is caught in a system that almost seems designed to see her fail. Katrina’s story illuminates the challenges faced by the 42 million women and the 28 million children who depend on them who are living in poverty or are on the brink of it, the very people helped by AVLF. The documentary plainly demonstrates the difficult choices that Katrina faces in deciding how to spend her weekly paycheck from her $9.49 per hour job as a nurse’s aide. At one point in the film, Katrina must choose which prescriptions to fill, as she has no insurance to cover her health care. Katrina, who has become the face of the national fight against poverty, is not content with her struggle and is now one year from earning a college degree.
After the movie, Katrina headlined a panel of speakers and fielded questions about poverty and her struggle. Joining Katrina were: Kelly Dolan, Executive Director of Atlanta Women’s Foundation; Melissa Johnson, Policy Analyst, Georgia Budget & Policy Institute; and Cole Thaler, AVLF’s Director of Safe & Stable Homes Project. The panel discussed issues related to poverty in Georgia and inspired the crowd to work in the Atlanta community to help those caught in the poverty trap.