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Front and Center: Before Guaranteed Income and the Child Tax Credit, “Some months I was very short”

Front and Center is a groundbreaking series of opinion pieces published by Mrs. and created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, which aims to put front and center the voices of black women who are most affected by the often abstract policies currently being debated at the national level. The series highlights the success of Springboard to Opportunities’ Magnolia Mother’s Trustwhich this year will pay $1,000 a month for 12 months to 100 black female-headed families living in federally subsidized housing.

What opportunities might low-income families have if financial survival were not always a priority? What dreams might these mothers and families pursue? What activism and community leadership might arise? The series will answer these and other questions, bringing one mother’s story to the fore every two weeks. The first-person accounts of this series are available for reprint. Find additional guidelines at the end of this story.


I’m 29 and live in Jackson with my 4 year old daughter. She is in kindergarten at the moment, then she will start kindergarten next year. I work as a professional technician, I help students with intellectual disabilities. Overall I like the job, but it gets difficult because there are so many people to take care of, and since they have physical issues in addition to learning issues, it can sometimes be very difficult to manage.

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My dream job is to be a nurse. It is a stable job with a good income. Also, I really like the idea of ​​helping people and making them better. I took a few classes at the Institute of Health and Technology, a private for-profit school here in Jackson, but never finished because COVID hit and the school closed its campus here, and now I have $10,000 in loans that I need to pay before I can enroll again.

With my current job, I earn about $1,500 a month. Also, I only get paid once a month, at the very end of the month, so it’s very difficult to make this last for 30, 31 days. It’s just not enough to cover all the expenses for me and my daughter, so some months I lost a lot of time when unexpected things came up, like my car breaking down or a family member needing help. assistance. I try to manage my money well, but you can’t manage money that isn’t there. So many times I had to borrow money from my parents, and that would set me back when I finally get paid, because I have to make sure they get paid back first so they keep lending me money. money when I still need it.

I do not receive official child support from the father of my child; he just gives me a little money for groceries here and there. I have a lawyer and want to see how to get regular child support payments, but first I would need to get all the money to pay the lawyer upfront, and that’s a lot. Last year was particularly stressful as I had no support and had to pay childcare costs for my daughter to be able to continue working. As a single mother, it’s very difficult — basically, if I can’t do it for my daughter, it won’t happen.

I do not receive formal child support from the father of my child. I want to see how to get regular child support payments, but first I would have to get all the money to pay the lawyer upfront, and that’s a lot.

During this part of last year, it was helpful to receive monthly child tax credit payments. It’s really helped me catch up on my bills, and I’ve also been able to take my daughter out of town and see things that she wouldn’t see here in Jackson and that I wouldn’t normally have the resources to do. .

And when I found out this year that I had been selected for the Magnolia Mother’s Trust, my heart jumped with excitement. I’ve been getting the $1000 payments for a few months now and it’s really helped me catch up on my bills. Now I know that with higher food prices I can afford to get what I need for my daughter.

When people say programs like this will keep people out of work, that makes no sense to me. $1000 isn’t enough for me to quit my job and it’s less than what I earn, and what I earn working isn’t enough to cover all my bills. People like me need more income; we don’t try to have less than what we started with.

My goal for the rest of the year I receive these payments is to work on transitioning into a job that offers more of a career and better pay than what I am currently doing. I know I need to have a job like this to support my daughter. I want to be able to support her, which doesn’t mean buy her everything she wants, but it’s Is means not always having to tell him to hand something over or wait for payday. And a longer term dream that I have is to buy some land and have a little house built on it, so that one day when I’m gone my daughter will have something precious that I gave her .


Front and middle pieces are free to repost, per the following guidelines:

  • To ensure context isn’t lost, at the top of your reprint, include a line that reads: “Front and Center is a series of opinion pieces published by Mrs. magazine and created in partnership with the Magnolia Mother’s Trust— highlighting the success of Springboard to opportunity‘ Magnolia Mother’s Trust program, which this year will pay $1,000 a month for 12 months to 100 black female-headed families living in federally subsidized housing. The series aims to bring front and center the voices of Black women who are most affected by the often abstract policies currently being debated at the national level.(You may use editorial discretion to modify or shorten the text slightly.)
  • You may also repost the photographs included in this story.
  • If you share reposted stories on social media, we would appreciate being tagged in your posts. You can find Mrs. on Twitter @MsMagazineon Instagram @ms_magazine and on Facebook. Springboard to Opportunity is on Twitter @SpringboardToOpon Instagram @springboard_to and on Facebook.

Questions about the series? For more, click here and direct specific questions to Katie Fleischer at [email protected].