Gun violence in America has reached epidemic proportions. The evening news is inundated with tragic stories of children, youth, and adults that have lost their lives to gun violence across our nation. Whether on the streets of Baltimore or in the privacy of their homes, gun violence has taken the lives of far too many children, youth, and adults in our cities.
Currently, felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill and even wanted terrorists – in most states can visit a gun show or a website today and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers, no questions asked. Legitimate gun stores already require background checks, which do not violate the Second Amendment. Every day, 282 Americans are shot with a gun – including 50 children. Countless lives could be saved if all gun sellers were required by law to conduct background checks on every person seeking to purchase a gun prior to sale.
In the week following the Newtown massacre, there were at least a dozen gun homicides in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis alone. In a period of highly publicized mass shootings, inner-city neighborhoods that are plagued by gun violence have continued to be neglected and ignored. According to the Centers for Disease Control, large metropolitan areas account for more than two-thirds of deaths by gun violence each year, with inner cities most affected.
The majority of the victims are young, ranging in age from their early teens to mid-20s, and are black. The leading cause of death among Black teens ages 15 to 19 in 2008 and 2009 was gun homicide. For White teens 15 to 19 it was motor vehicle accidents followed by gun homicide in 2008 and gun suicide in 2009. The most recent analysis of data from twenty-three (23) industrialized nations shows that eighty-seven (87) percent of the children under age fifteen (15) killed by guns in these nations lived in the United States.
With that said, Congress has no excuse for not acting. Please ask your members of Congress to support gun safety legislation that will save the lives of countless children, youth, and adults. In partnership with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, advocacy organizations are working to pass a comprehensive gun violence prevention package with a background check provision.
Help keep the pressure on our Senators to reconsider critical gun safety legislation. Recently, in the House of Representatives legislation was recently introduced to expand background checks.
The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1565),
This piece of legislation introduced by Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), mirrors the bipartisan Manchin/Toomey compromise background check measure that was narrowly defeated in the Senate last month. While the Senate bill fell five (5) votes short of passage last month due to a procedural hurdle, Senators promise to have another vote soon. With that said, if we hope to have gun safety legislation this year, it is time to work with our House of Representatives members.
Due to loopholes in current law, people are easily able to obtain firearms through private sales and transfers, even though they should be prohibited from doing so under federal law. Research indicates that in excess of six million guns are transferred each year through private transfer. When there is a sale of private guns or there are transfers of weapons, these transactions are not subject to background checks.
The King/Thompson bill would save countless lives each year by helping to keep guns out of the hands of the violent people. Currently, this important piece of legislation has over 160 co-sponsors. This potentially lifesaving legislation needs more support in Congress. With that said, we need to demand prompt action from Congress on the King/Thompson bill. Toward that goal, I am asking that you take at least one of the following action steps:
1. Call your Congress person.
1. Email your Congress person.
2. Post a message on your Facebook Page
4. Sign the Petition circulating on the Internet
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates visit http://www.demandaction.org.
Source: NCADV Action Alert, May 17, 2013.
Children and families across our nation are being affected by sequester and by the failure of Congress and the Obama Administration to come to an agreement on how to restructure cuts that allowed eighty-five (85) billion dollars in automatic cuts to take effect last week. The impact of the cuts will be deep. The cuts that affect a wide range of programs and services that not only will touch upon the lives of children, but will affect their families as well.
As a result of the gridlock in Washington, many programs and services that children and their families have relied on will be cut back and in some cases cut out altogether. Vital services will be slashed to programs in education, Title I, special education, Head Start, nutrition assistance for women, infants and children, rental assistance, emergency employment compensation and mental health and substance abuse services.
In a few weeks is the March 27th deadline for a continuing resolution to extend funding of the government’s operations for the remainder of the year and to avoid a government shutdown. Congress will need to pass a spending bill that funds the government through September 2013 and will maintain the spending cuts caused by sequester. In May, there will be an increase in the debt ceiling to maintain the government’s ability to borrow money to pay its bills, and further down the road are the 2014 appropriations bills.
Spending on children in this country makes up less than 10 percent of all federal spending. In all these fiscal decisions, Congress will have an opportunity to restore some of the funding cuts to hardest hit programs that affect vulnerable children and families. Throughout it all, children must be held harmless in appropriations agreements and debt ceiling negotiations. There must be no new cuts. Childhood hunger continues to be a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well-kept secret. Programs that our nation’s poorest children and youth depend on are on the line including but not limited to: TANF, WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, Head Start, child care, and Social Security. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food.
We must compel President Obama and Congress reach a budget deal — so pressure to cut federal spending, particularly to programs for hungry and poor people, has never been higher. Every Washington interest group has been pounding the halls of Congress to weigh in on a multi-trillion dollar deal that that affects every federal program and every person in this country for decades to come. Unfortunately, the media and politicians are not talking about the tremendous impact that the deal will have on hungry and poor people. If we do not speak up, vulnerable people could easily be forgotten.
Congress needs to hear your voice about the importance of protecting programs that serve the poor. Advocates for vulnerable people need your help to remind Congress to take the deficit seriously without balancing the budget on the backs of hungry and poor people. Proverbs calls us to speak for those without a voice. We need your help to remind Congress that their budget decisions are moral choices that could have devastating consequences.
Call your elected officials in Washington today! Use our toll-and tell them to pass a budget deal that includes a circle of protection around programs for hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world.
Explain to your elected officials in Washington that any deal reached must:
• Explicitly protect low-income entitlement programs for hungry and poor people — like SNAP (formerly food stamps), the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit — against cuts or harmful changes.
• Include additional tax revenue, balanced with responsible spending cuts so that our country can reduce its deficits while continuing its commitment to reducing hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
• Prevent further cuts to non-defense discretionary programs, including poverty-focused development assistance, international food aid, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The President and Congress must reach a deal, but it is critical that Congress get it right. An imbalanced package will severely hamper our ability to address hunger and poverty for years to come. Call Congress today. If we wait, it will be too late.
According to the USDA, over seventeen (17) million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii Twenty (20) percent or more of the child population in sixteen (16) states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas twenty-four point four (24.4) percent and Texas twenty-three point three (24.3) percent have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food. (Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii
In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children twenty-one point three (21.3) percent, especially households with children headed by single women thirty-six point six (36.6) percent or single men twenty-seven point eight (27.8) percent, Black non-Hispanic households twenty-four point nine (24.9) percent and Hispanic households twenty-six point nine (26.9) percent. v
These heartbreaking facts about the prevalence and the face of hunger in America and the proposed cuts to very necessary social service programs has drawn the attention of thousands of Christians, people of other faiths, heads of denominations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations and compelled them to take action. Will you join them and urge our elected officials to protect the programs poor children need[i] to succeed?
Everything from Pell Grants to food stamps could be cut by Congress. At the same time, the very wealthiest citizens in our nation continue to enjoy tax breaks while working families continue to struggle with high unemployment. More than one (1) in five (5) children lives in poverty and nearly one (1) in four (4) is at risk of hunger. Now is the time to speak up for children, youth, and families in crisis. Please join me in telling the members of the Super Committee to safeguard programs that the most vulnerable members of our society depend on particularly, in this very challenging economic period.
Reducing our nation’s long-term debt is critical, but hungry and poor people did not cause the problem, and cutting programs that help them will NOT significantly reduce our debt. But cutting these programs will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society.
As Congress considers federal budget cuts, please join me in urging Congress to keep our nation’s commitment to those Jesus called “the least of these” by sending an email. Remind your members of Congress that we put them in office to care for all their constituents not simply the 1%.
When you contact members of Congress, your voice will be added to thousands calling on Congress to protect programs and services that benefit children, youth, and families in crisis. Please remind your elected officials in Washington that everyone deserves a chance.
Thank for you for lending your voice to support necessary programs and services for children.
Source(s): Voices for Americas Children. USDA. Bread for the World Action Alert. Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010. Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008. Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008. Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
[i] Very necessary programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start, child care, and more need your help.
iiBread for the World Action Alert.
iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter, Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of
Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.
iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008.
nor, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.
While Congress is preparing to return to their home states to share in holiday festivities with their family members, millions of working Americans are bracing themselves for an increase in taxes for those fortunate enough to be working and for the less fortunate the expiration of their unemployment benefits.
This post is written to remind the fortunate among us that as winter festivities continue across the country for many, there are literally millions of other Americans who are sitting at home right now, waiting to hear if they will have basic needs such as food and shelter met next month. Federal unemployment insurance has proved vital support for millions of struggling families across our nation. Unemployment insurance for millions of citizens is slated to expire on December 31, 2012. The Economic Policy Institute says more than five (5) million U.S. workers have been unemployed longer than six months. This is more than four times the number of long-term unemployed before the onset of the Great Recession.
The National Association of Working Women remind us that, “…Nearly 8 million workers and their families have been kept afloat by the extension of the federal unemployment insurance program while they search for work in this tough economy. Long-term unemployment is at a level not seen since the Great Depression– over 42% of all unemployed (6.1 million workers) have been without a job for over 6 months, and 30% (4.4 million workers) have been out of work for over a year.” The National Association of Working Women asks that we help give struggling families something to be grateful for by telling Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits.
“The unemployment benefits these struggling families receive kept at least 3.3 million Americans from falling into poverty in 2009 alone, including 1.5 million children.” Until the national unemployment rate shows measurable signs of improvement and the economy begins generating meaningful numbers of living wage jobs, the program of federal jobless benefits should be continued by Congress. Extending unemployment benefits will not simply benefit the enrollees but our national economy. I know that to some it sounds counter-intuitive but continuing to support long-term unemployment benefits will help facilitate the growth of our economy—but it is true.
“How could unemployment insurance payments to these Americans help the economy? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says every one dollar of unemployment insurance benefit grows the total economy by $1.10. And every one million of the benefit adds six new American jobs. Moreover, unemployment insurance has more economic impact than many other spending proposals according to the CBO.”
The Brookings Institution states, “Families on UI rely on it to maintain necessary spending, thus the money is rapidly spent rather than saved. Absent such benefits, spending would fall sharply, resulting in hardship on not just their families but also on the shops and workers that depend on those consumers.”
The provision of Extended Unemployment benefits has been part of every response to recessions since 1958, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Our country has never permitted benefits for the long-term unemployed to expire when unemployment was above 7.2 percent. It’s now 7.9 percent. Allowing these benefits to lapse will be nothing short of a disaster for families and our economy. With that said, it is time for each of us to tell our Representatives in Washington to ensure that ALL Americans can celebrate this season. To accomplish said goal, call 1-888-245-3381 NOW and ask your Representative to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits.
9 to 5 prepared this script to assist us in placing this very necessary call to our members of congress. It reads as follows: “When connected to your Representative’s office, please tell him or her: Your name, where you are from, and that you are a constituent. Please tell _____________ that I’m counting on [him or her] to extend federal unemployment insurance benefits. Thank you.” Congress must act to ensure that unemployed Americans are not left in the cold this holiday season.
“What is at stake if these benefits are allowed to expire? Over two (2) million women stand to lose this critical lifeline in 2012. More than a quarter of a million of these women are single parents. For many of them, federal unemployment benefits may be the difference between staying afloat and falling into poverty.”
You can make the difference in the lives of countless families in your state by calling Washington and urging your Representative to extend unemployment benefits. Again, please call 1-888-245-3381 today and ask your Representatives in Washington and urge them to act NOW to pass the Senate bill to prevent federal unemployment insurance benefits from being cut off this holiday season.
Source: The National Association of Working Women. Economic Policy Institute. http://www.platformtoemployment.com. http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Extended-unemployment-benefits-necessary-4139049.php#ixzz2FpOg0L1p
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
The 2012 election results should have sent the message to all elected officials that the electorate is more concerned about jobs than cutting the national debt. For more than two and a half years, there has been positive private-sector job growth. In the United States, the unemployment rate declined from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September. According to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one hundred and fourteen thousand (114,000) jobs were added that month.
In response to the release of the September 2012 job growth, AFL-CIO President said that the recent jobs report by the the BLS: “confirms that the economy is finally beginning to build some momentum, as we work to dig out of the devastatingly deep hole that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush and a generation of flawed policies. Now we need the President and Congress to build on this momentum and keep their focus on job creation, including by passing the American Jobs Act.”
Some political analyst asserted that the 2012 Presidential Race is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. The election results proved that they were in fact correct. The 2012 election at the federal level was all about jobs. As a result, the Democrats increased their number of seats in the United States Senate, United States House of Representatives, and they maintained the White House for a second term.
After his loss to Barack Obama for the presidency, Mitt Romney shared his thoughts about the reasons behind the loss to his big money supporters. Romney’s conclusions about his loss were disturbing to many even several Republican party leaders including but not limited New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie. Election tensions within the Republican Party flared anew as Louisania’s Governor Bobby Jindal also rejected Romney’s explanation for his loss in the 2012 race for the White House.
I wonder what conservative pundits have to say about the election outcomes at the federal level in the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and the Office of the President —particularly, given the record breaking amounts of money spent by Karl Rove’s nonprofits, Billionare Sheldon Adelson, and the Koch brothers to assist Republican candidates in their efforts to take control of the White House and the United States Senate.
The electorate has spoken “Trickle Down” economics failed miserably under Reagan and Bush as best demonstrated by the economic collapse— the road to recovery for our nation is in fact alll about jobs, jobs, jobs.
Source(s): AFL-CIO. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art.
Today is Election Day and in many parts of the East Coast the storms continue or residents are attempting to recover from Hurricane Sandy. Will the inclement weather determine the outcome in the 2012 Election Cycle? The east coast has been and continues to be battered by storms. People are struggling with the recovery from the storms. To date, the storms have claimed more than a hundred lives and caused extensive property damage that has left countless persons either homeless or without power for days. In some parts of New Jersey, residents are still struggling to find gas stations with gas. Will these factors serve to suppress voter turnout on Election Day?
In late August of this year, the Weather Channel commissioned a survey to look at the effect of weather on voting. The survey targeted registered voters in the so-called battleground states where the presidential race is considered most competitive – Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
According to the Weather Channel’s poll, more than a third of undecided voters say yes, according to a recent survey that point to the role weather could play in a close presidential election. Among those who plan to vote this year, thirty-five (35) percent of undecided voters say that inclement weather conditions would have a “moderate to significant” impact on whether they make it to the polls on Election Day. The survey also found that more registered Democrats twenty-seven (27) percent indicated that bad weather conditions would impact whether they make it to the polls than registered Republicans which was twenty (20) percent. With that said, could the inclement weather along the East Coast result in Republican victories?
The 2012 Presidential Election is close and Election Day not simply for the Office for the President but also for members of the United States House and United States Senate. The Republicans control the United States House of Representatives. The Democrats control the United States Senate. What is at stake is control of the Office of the President, the United States House of Representatives as well as the United States Senate and most importantly the course of the nation.
As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”
Each election day, countless eligible voters deprive themselves of their voting right through complacency or apathy. Don’t be among them—exercise your right to vote.
Source(s): Wikipedia. “Bad Weather on Election Day? Many Won’t Vote” Terrell Johnson, November 5, 2012, www.weather.com.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
What is at stake in the 2012 elections? The 2012 Presidential Election is close and election day not simply for the Office for the President but also for members of the United States House and United States Senate is fast approaching. The Republicans control the United States House of Representatives. The Democrats control the United States Senate. What is at stake in the 2012 election cycle is control of the Office of the President, the United States House of Representatives as well as the United States Senate and most importantly the course of the nation.
All this political power at the national level up for grabs has brought out big money in a big way. The political muscle of the 1%ers is mostly been deployed through multi-million dollar advertising buys targeting candidates on both television and the Internet. The Republican Super PACs have spent $260 million on advertising campaigns, according to FEC reports and press releases and expected to spend another 40 million dollars on this election cycle.[i] The majority of that — $171.5 million — has gone to ads intended to help defeat President Barack Obama. Another $66.3 million has been put toward Senate races and $11.6 million toward House races. [ii]
In the 2012 election cycle, we have seen the most money ever spent on political ads in American history. With that said, will Americans and the world wake on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, to find that big money has bought and paid for the Office of the President and control of the United States House and the United States Senate? What will a victory for big money supported candidates mean for America and the world? To answer that question, let’s look at, What is at stake in the 2012 elections?
The next United States President will select several appointees for the United States Supreme Court. Additionally, on the table is the question of how we as a national will handle key questions concerning the public welfare including but not limited to: taxes, unemployment, health care, social welfare programs, defense, women’s right to self-determination, and our nation’s infrastructure. How will it affect US foreign policy?
The vision for our nation’s road to recovery by the Presidential Candidates has never been starker. The Republican Candidate for President, Governor Mitt Romney’s view of America has received much financial support from individuals that have been termed the 1% (i.e. Charles and David Koch) as it benefits them greatly. The Democrat Candidate for President, President Barack Obama, has received diverse support from persons of varied income levels. Obama has received support from both the 99% as well as members of the 1% such as billionaire business man, George Soros..
As the proponents of voter suppression measures (.i.e. Voter ID Laws, etc.) struck down by many courts in several key states understand, the only power that can overcome big money is people power. As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”
Each election day, countless eligible voters deprive themselves of their voting right through complacency or apathy. Don’t be among them—exercise your right to vote.