A Mature Political Response
Befitting the memory of Mr. Charles Peterson, Food Bank of Alaska (FBA) launched Summer Foods in Alaska from the Fairview Recreational Center on June 1, 2011. This is very serious business. FBA estimates 33,000 children face hunger when school is not in session. Through a network of grassroots-based distribution centers, Summer Foods attempts to fulfill that need.
Like ALL other anti-hunger networks hit hard by the Recession, FBA is in need of greater resources on all fronts. I learned last week from Dallas-based activist, Sa’tori Ananda, that the federal government did not make things any easier with budget cuts to WIC – Women Infants and Children – amounting to $800 million. Since WIC’s 9 million “customers” overlap with the 19.5 million children the government serves for School Breakfast and Lunch, I became emotional over such news. Boys and Girls Club Director Dave Barney had to caution me for cussing. (I was in front of MENO’s house so I did not feel bad. I had to buy his new album with Jah on it.)
In my anger, I contacted Don Burrell Jr. He calmly informed me, “The budget’s passed about a month ago. Remember when they were fighting over shutting down the government?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Well, that’s when the compromises occurred,” Don said.
“WHAT compromises? You know I scanned the material on-line,” I said.
“And, you are about to rattle off numbers,” Don sighed.
“Yes, I am! Out of every $10 spent by the federal government last year, 30 cents went to education. $1.40 went to social services. Our priorities are off!!! The current Administration spent somewhere around $565 per citizen – and my daughter doesn’t work! – on Iraq and Afghanistan. To save the $800 million cut from WIC all we had to do is build one less bomb.”
“I know. However, Kokayi, you were not in the room when those decisions were made. You were on a street corner,” Don said.
Which is true; so true that it hurts, on a totally different level.
I know that addressing child hunger is possible. I know that America has all the resources necessary. All that is lacking is the political will to inspire the solution.
I know this in part because I get google alerts from around the world. Communities in Ghana and the Phillipines are choosing not to wait upon governmental structures to assist them in feeding their children. They recognize that it is THEIR children who are hungry and not the government’s children.
That said, the only mature political response is to continue organizing with real people in real time to address this very real problem that WE FACE. Towards this end, we are asking people to connect to us on Facebook. We have a new fan page. We are headed in a new direction. We need to support summer foods and then organize like never before during this upcoming Presidential campaign.
Afterall, We the People run America; not the politicians. We will communicate to them OUR collective will. Our children are counting on us.