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Community Leaders Share Ideas On Ending Poverty

Eric Gray, United Against Poverty. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE
Eric Gray, United Against Poverty. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

Community leaders will share ideas on how to end poverty Wednesday at the second annual Central Florida Poverty Conference.

Eric Gray, executive director of United Against Poverty, said the conference is like a Ted Talks, with speakers given 16 minutes to present an idea.

“They can say what ever they want. They have no restrictions," said Gray.

"We ask them to not make it a commercial about their organization, but rather speak from their own experience about their issue, and we just make sure the issues aren’t duplicated.”

He said last year’s conference was an opportunity to hear about some of the factors that drive the cycle of poverty.

“One of the things we learned a lot about was the impact of arrests on people’s records that we’d not spent a lot of time on. And we knew that a lot of our clients had some kind of criminal background, but even an arrest on your record can keep you from getting a job, it can also keep you from getting an apartment.” 

Gray is one of the speakers at the conference which runs at Florida Hospital.

Others include Bakari Burns, Health Care Center For the Homeless, 9th Circuit chief justice Fred Lauten, Anna Eskamani with Planned Parenthood, Rev. Mary Lee Downey with the Community Hope Center, Michael Griffin with Florida Hospital and Eddy Moratin with Lift Orlando.