A Tipping Point Idea
Current attempts at interjecting the idea that 20.6 million children are hungry in America are failing. The anti-hunger movement came close to the acknowledgement that child hunger exists on a national stage when long term anti-hunger activist and actor, Jeff Bridges valiantly spoke about the epidemic. In 18 months of Presidential campaigns the issue of 1 out of 5 children hungry in the United States did not come up. Jeff Bridges said “If another country was doing this to our kids, we’d be at war.” This is so clear a message that it appears on internet memes throughout American social media.
On November 20, 2012 PBS made its contribution. It aired POOR KIDS. The voices of the children having the experience of hunger in America are presented.
PARADE published an article on December 2, 2012 featuring Warren Buffet’s son, Howard. He expressed shock and disbelief at the prevalence of hunger in the city where he lived.
“Last year I attended a Thanksgiving dinner at Harris Elementary School right here in Decatur, where I learned that 92 percent of the kids are on free or reduced-cost lunches. I spoke with some parents who told me that school lunch is the best meal their kids get all day. That shocked me because the school sits in a community that has the largest food-processing facility in the world for corn and the second largest for soybeans; 1,500 to 2,000 train cars roll out of those plants and through these kids’ neighborhoods every day. The irony of that is unbelievable,” he said.
For three years, the By2015:AMERICA movement has promoted the creation of “END CHILD HUNGER” signs. A collection of them exists on Facebook. Photographer Huari Cusi has made a significant contribution towards promoting the idea that it is possible to address child hunger in America by 2015. What is needed now is a vigorous collaboration of like-minded individuals. Ones who are willing to donate their time, talent and energy towards preserving the genius of America.
The act appears simple. Almost too simple to work. However, that is the point. Taking an END CHILD HUNGER picture is a “tipping point” activity. In making reference to the idea: tipping point, I mean, something small that everyone can do to shift the consciousness of America.
In his book, Tipping Point, author Malcolm Gladwell uses a bus system as an example. By concentrating on keeping the bus system graffiti free, the entire culture of the transit system was changed. First the city painted over all of the property that it controlled. Then, as new graffiti went up, it quickly painted over it. The city maintained its vigilance and in 2 years, the culture of train riders shifted. The graffiti stopped. Crime dropped.
That is a clear mental picture of what we seek to do. We are taking pictures because pictures are real things. We are taking something abstract: an idea called “end child hunger” and making it real: a picture. This picture resonates in the minds of others. It is picked up into their memory. Memory becomes consciousness as the pictures multiply. This is a matter of participation.
Thought goes before action. Everything is already in place for America to address child hunger. 1) A national distribution system called National Breakfast and Lunch Program exists. Some 32 million meals are administered every school day. 2) A national production system exists. Last year American farmers grossed $138.2 billion. This year it is estimated that they will make $96 billion. 3) 205 Food Banks exist, connected to countless food pantries coming in and out of existence. Again, everything is in place for America to fulfill its promise to the its children and feed all of them.
Things are bad. A sense of urgency is felt. In Chicago, we suspect that 206,456 children are living in households experiencing hunger. In Atlanta, we suspect that 640,000 children are living in households experiencing hunger. In Arkansas the number is 1 out of 4 children who are hungry or 166,000.
We ask that you choose to make your contribution today. Please create a physical picture of your agreement with the idea that America can feed all of its children by 2015. Send your agreement into the movement at firstname.lastname@example.org.