The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘What I want my daughters to know about poverty’

Darlena Cunha had a very difficult story to tell. People would judge her. So why did she do it?

For her daughters.

When the former television producer unexpectedly got pregnant with twins, she was surprised. Scared even. But Cunha and her boyfriend both had good jobs. Then they didn’t.

All of a sudden, Cunha found herself signing up for government assistance, once picking up benefits in her husband’s Mercedes. She was determined to write about her embarrassment. On Tuesday, Cunha documented her experience for ‘The Washington Post‘ in ‘This is what happened when I drove my Mercedes to pick up food stamps.’

“You get the judgment from above and you get it from below and everybody is just judging the heck out of everybody else,” Cunha told ‘The Washington Post after the article became one of the web site’s most popular of the year.

Though her daughters are still young, she hopes that her story will teach them not to judge. “Circumstances for everyone are different,” she said. “They need to give everyone a chance and they need to help anyone they can be open-minded about any kind of circumstance.”

On her own blog,, she encouraged others not to give in to shame.

“Believe in yourself. Do your thing. Eventually, someone will see you. Eventually, the story will be told. Keep walking. Never stop.
“You are worth it.”

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