Intergenerational Identity, Poverty, and Maternal Voices of Color in a Breathing World

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Intergenerational Identity, Poverty, and Maternal Voices of Color in a Breathing World

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Generations ground time, frame life stages, and embody people’s experiences. Viewing identity through intergenerational connections of family lineage and eras is essential to poverty elimination efforts in a world with projected longer life expectancy, a growing population, injustice, and inequity. Poverty viewed as a social justice issue requires analyses of individuals’ marginalized experiences and the sociocultural and geopolitical contexts in which they exist. This qualitative study explored poverty and intergenerational identity (InterID) through perspectives of 16 mothers of color served by a United States-based nonprofit organization aiming to end poverty cycles and through the organization’s perspective. The results of this study revealed most mother participants primarily viewed poverty as a micro-level, multidimensional, personalized experience that encompasses intersectional identities while the organization viewed poverty essentially from macro-level, meso-level, and youth-centered perspectives. I present the Intergenerational Identity (InterID) Framework I developed. Data revealed various views of the InterID dimensions; additional dimensions emerged and centered on citizenship, immigration, legal aspects, and religious/spirituality aspects. Maternal loss, siblinghood, mental anguish, and the additional InterID dimensions were findings aspects that should be further researched through an InterID lens. People, human beings, should be the priority of international development and social justice endeavors. The heartbeats of a nation are not in the exchange of currency or material goods; they are in the people whose very heart beats demand rights as humans. Regardless of the nation in which a mother lives, if she is in a cycle of generational poverty, she is experiencing an international development issue.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2021. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Michael Goh. 1 computer file (PDF); xxv, 357 pages.

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Cade, Suzanne. (2021). Intergenerational Identity, Poverty, and Maternal Voices of Color in a Breathing World. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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