We are pleased to present this document to you. It grew out of our 2006 policy paper: Poverty in America: A Threat to the Common Good. In that document we called for policy changes to reduce by half the number of Americans living in poverty by 2020. Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities agencies across the country are aware that we cannot responsibly address the issue of poverty without addressing the impact of race. In our Vision 2000 statement, we recognized the connection and interplay between these issues when we stated that Catholic Charities USA needs to be "a leader in eradicating racism which permeates our society and its structures." Never has the urgency to address the issues of poverty and racism been so visible and paramount than during and after Hurricane Katrina. As a nation we were shocked, appalled, and embarrassed as we watched along with others from around the world the life and death consequences of being poor in America. What Americans and the world witnessed, however, was not a surprise to Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies. Everyday we observe poverty and racism as we serve a disproportionate number of people of color who are poor. When the tragedy in the Gulf Coast occurred, we were hopeful that finally America would be moved to action-to develop solutions that would result in our nation finally addressing poverty and racism to ensure that never again in our history would we experience the tragedy and suffering that took place in the Gulf Coast.