Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

How I Spent my Summer Vacation

June 9: Arrive DC for National Gathering!
So pumped to run into old friends! Haven’t seen fellow Hunger Hero Carlos Navarro in 2 years. Was disappointed he left his HH cape at home in New Mexico. Met with fellow ONE Campaigners in a great workshop concept called “Conversation Spaces”. Started taking pictures of folks for my Facebook Group “Who’s Wearing the White ONE Band?” Check it out:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2310368841

June 10: Blogging Workshop/Film Crew Arrives
I am in way over my head. First of all, what is an RSS feed? And they actually have a Fantasy Congress website where you can create your own perfect political world where all Bread for the World legislation is guaranteed to pass? Whoa!
Bread for the World is filming a short informational DVD. Carlos and I had a camera crew following us around. We did some faux blogging in AU’s computer lab. Confession: After many years of consideration, I “impulsively” got my nose pierced when my 18 year old daughter invited me to go with her when she got hers pierced. Some mothers and daughters get mani/pedis together, the VanCleaves get piercings. Well, I didn’t read the fine print in the literature that said that after about a week, there might be some white discharge. Well, guess when that happened to me!?!?! The day the cameras roll…I tried, really tried, not to be obsessive.
Only disappointment of the conference was that the Presidential Candidates Forum turned into a National Leaders Forum.
Attended Leadership Circles Dinner. Probably should have gone to the Movement Building Dinner instead – that is where my heart and passions lie. Note for next time…
June 11: Day of Humiliation That Ended up Being a Great Day Nonetheless
Told Shawnda that I’d do a role play with Barbara Bradley Hagerty from NPR. Actually thought I might turn the role play into a real pitch for an actual NPR story. Really. Didn’t happen – instead the self-proclaimed “nice person” Ms. Hagerty chewed me up and spit me out. The class learned a lot – especially about “what not to do”. And remember, they were filming….
The day got better when several of us skipped lunch and headed to the ONE Vote ‘08 Launch at St. Mark’s on Capitol Hill. Very inspiring. Former Senate rivals Bill Frist and Tom Daschle are co-chairing the campaign to bring to the attention of presidential candidates the problem of extreme poverty and its effects. I love it whenever partisan politics gets tossed out the window. Oh, and the mom from my favorite tv show, Friday Night Lights, spoke about her experiences filming a documentary in Ethiopia. I had vowed not to get star struck but I was so happy to see that one of my favorite actresses is also a very special humanitarian.
After an afternoon general session back at AU that included a standing ovation for Immokolee Farm Worker Lucas Benitez, we headed to the National Cathedral for the Interfaith Convocation. Carlos and I hovered near the front of the gathered crowd so we could get a “good seat in church”!!! Hard to put into words such an experience. My favorite part was my former ONE Faith Outreach Organizer Suzanne Berman’s heartfelt remarks. She is a symbol of all that is good and right in the world.
June 12: Lobby Day
Was late to the morning prep because of traffic issues (the president made a rare visit to Capitol Hill and traffic was snarled). In the car, we enjoyed an hour of conversation with Lee DeLeon, several young people from his church, and our new Jordanian friend Tawfeq Al-Ja’afreh, about immigration, the war in Iraq, the similarities between Arabic and Spanish (who knew!), etc.
Took a great group of church folks and college students to the Hill to lobby our congressmen. Met with two aides and two MOC – Senator Shelby and Representative Bachus. We didn’t take away any promises (only blisters!) but our Alabama legislators know where the “church folks” stand with regards to the Farm Bill.
Reception and worship are always a great wrap up for Lobby Day. My favorite moment at worship was when my new friend Norbert Hahn, said that his Lobby Day experience left him “empowered, encouraged, and with a song is his heart”.


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