Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

13 posts from October 2005

Colombia

I am taking a class this semester called Latin American Politics.  For the past week and the rest of the semester, we are focusing on the conflict in Colombia.  What is happening in Colombia though, is more than just another war.  For decades the people of Columbia have been ravaged by conflict between the government, the guerrillas, and the paramilitaries.  They live each day in fear of being attacked by any one of these groups.  They have no one to trust.  What is happening is not just, and many human rights violations have occurred and continue to happen.  People are kidnapped, tortured, and threatened on a daily basis.  I was excited to come across a multimedia presentation on sojo.net about churches' presence in Colombia despite what is occurring.  I encourage people to check this out (Colombia) and become informed about what is going on there.  It is a war we don't hear about very much; however, it is a reality for many and we need to start paying attention to it.

U2 Concert and ONE!!!

Last Wendesday I had the pleasure of working the ONE campaign at the U2 concert in DC, oh, my, was it amazing!!!!!  And yes, I'll admit, now I have reverted back to a 11 year old girl drooling over Bono.  Concert info first:  Bono is such a believer in the ONE campaign, that he gives all the ONE volunteers inner circle elipse passes.  I could have jumped up and untied Bono's shoelaces if I had wanted... but I just let him sweat on me instead :-)  OK, back to reality now.  The concert was amazing, and I was quite impressed with how much he talked about Africa, poverty, AIDS, and hope in the campaign.  Bono really got people committed to, I got about 300 signatures adding to the ONE campaign.  I was not all that sure about the celebrity aspect of the campaign, but seeing Bono perform as well as talk about Africa, I really think he is committed, believes in ONE, and can really change people.  What a blast!!

Planting Seeds of Social Change

Logo_2 I would encourage you all to attend the National Student Campaign’s upcoming awesome conference this November 11-13.  Bread for the World is a sponsor of this event and I will be there leading workshops on hunger, ONE, and advocacy as well as staffing a table with good BFW materials.  It’s always a great event with good speakers, workshops, panels, and networking.  You’re surrounded with 300 other students passionate about hunger and homelessness, what more could you ask for?  How about the location being in Seattle, Washington!  As a conference participant, you will learn the most up-to-date information on domestic and international hunger and homelessness related issues and acquire new skills and strategies to organize effective programs and campaigns on your campus and in your local community.  To register or learn more about the conference go to National Student Campaign’s website.  If you’re planning on attending let me know and come visit me at the Bread table or in one of my workshops!

U.S. TV becomes Reality in Africa

The only female president the U.S. has ever had is played by Geena Davis on a fictional TV show.  However, a recent Christian Science Monitor article says that Liberia may be one large step ahead of us in that department.  The votes are still being counted, but it is very likely that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will be elected the first woman head of state on her entire continent.  Even more, Johnson-Sirleaf, a former World Bank official, represents the trend of increasing numbers of women politicians in legislatures and top positions in many African countries.

One of the reasons that I think this article is particularly interesting is because it highlights a positive side of Africa.  Often times, the continent is characterized by its very real problems with corruption, poverty, etc.  Although these issues are important, as activists it is key to emphasize the improvements that give us hope for the future.

For example, the article suggests that the increasing election of women politicians can be taken as a rejection of corruption.

Continue reading "U.S. TV becomes Reality in Africa" »

Phone Calls Do Make A Difference

Great news!  People across the country, including Bread members, have been making phone calls to their Senators asking them to make NO cuts to the Food Stamp Program.  Yesterday the Senate Agriculture Committee dropped cuts to the Food Stamp Program, which would have affected 300,000 families currently on the program.

Can I get an AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know we often feel that our calls and letters don't make a difference or get lost in the void, but it is clear the Senate Agriculture Committee felt the pressure from YOU!  The work isn't done - the House hasn't made their decisions yet, but please take a moment to say a prayer of thanks and give yourself a pat on the back (or a piece of Halloween candy)!

Read BFW's press statement to learn more.

Kids are advocates too!

  This was at a Bread for the World event in the Southeast region!!!

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Not Guilty Pleasure

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Need a study break?  Need a release after turning in that paper?  Need to vent after bombing that test?  Need a quick and easy date idea?  Need all of the above without tearing the world apart?  Literally?!

I was grocery shopping a few weeks back with a little bit of budget surplus and a lot of excitement for the upcoming baseball playoffs.  I was buying things I didn't usually, or ever, buy - brats, buns, (pumpkin) beer, etc...and even ice cream.  Unfortunately, my beloved Yankees (I know, I know) exited early, and I'm stuck with a lot of frozen hot dogs, but I was slightly mollified watching their season end when I noticed that the Ben and Jerry's 'Coffee Heath Bar Crunch' I had bought was made with 'Fair Trade Certified Coffee'.

I knew those guys were socially aware, but knew they had also sold the company a few years back to pursue other, equally worthwhile ventures.  Today I stumbled across this article:

Ben and Jerry's Returns to Social Issues.  It warmed my heart, and not just for the jolt of self-righteousness it provided me for buying such meaningful ice cream.

I like the fact that a mainstream company can succeed commercially and do it while striving to make a big difference in important ways in the lives of others with their product - by starting with the little things.  Just like us!

Read more about Ben and Jerry's fair trade certified coffee and what it takes to achieve that by clicking here.

And next time you're downing that pint (of Ben and Jerry's), don't feel bad!  Instead, with your new and growing knowledge, spread the word, assured that one by one, you can ensure trade justice in your daily routine and buying patterns - even with your sweet tooth.

Before you know it you'll be able to give a lecture on the importance of the World Trade Organization ministerial in December and how the decisions made there can affect millions of poor and hungry people!

Overanalysis leads to paralysis... Why 400,000 meals are wasting away in storage in the US while people are starving..

This very second…400,000 packaged meals, or 5.3 millions dollars worth of food, idly sit in a warehouse in Arizona. While I write this blog, millions of people in the United States, and throughout the world, are hungry or even starving.  These hungry and impoverished people would be grateful for just ONE of the 400,000 packaged meals.  Today is October 14th, and the meals have remained untouched in the warehouse since the beginning of September.

Continue reading "Overanalysis leads to paralysis... Why 400,000 meals are wasting away in storage in the US while people are starving.." »

A World on Fire

I recently heard about a unique music video that demonstrates just how attainable the MDGs are.  The song is “World on Fire” by Sarah McLaughlin (see it here).  Instead of spending the average $150,000 on her music video, McLaughlin decided to spend just $15 and put the rest of the budget to use around the world helping about a million people.  For example, instead of spending $5000 for one day of hair and make-up, the money was used to put 145 girls in Afghanistan through school for one year.  The video is full of similar parallels that really question where people place their values.  If the money allocated away from a single music video can accomplish so much, imagine what could come from a simple ONE percent increase of the United States government’s budget.

1John3

The 1John3 Campaign, a living wage campaign for the workers at Baylor University, hit the campus in full force last Saturday with BearStock.  BearStock was a concert the Baylor Students for Social Justice organized to raise awareness of the 1John3 Campaign and issues of economic justice. 

We were able to have five bands come out and play in support of our cause, which seeks to accomplish 3 main goals: raise the hourly pay to a Waco living wage of $10.29 an hour, provide a medical benefits package for all workers, and allow workers if they choose and their job allows to work a 40 hour work week.  We had tables with our informational brochures and postcards for people to sign that we will send to our interim president.  We also had other tables set up for other organizations on our campus who seek to inform students and to advocate on behalf of other forms on injustice in the world today.

I was amazed at how much support we received from our campus, both financially and for our cause.  We were able to raise money from private donors and our student government.  The reaction the day of the concert was uplifting as well; the news was there and we made the front page of a section in the Waco Tribune.  We are encouraged and excited to see where we will be able to go from here. Check out our progress at www.1John3.org.  Also, if anyone else is working on a living wage campaign, we would love to talk to you about it!

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