One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams was a world free from hunger, which is vital for achieving equality among all peoples. We can celebrate Martin Luther King Day by joining his quest to end hunger at home and abroad.
As Dr. King proclaimed in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
Just eight days before the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice ending World War I, my great uncle, Ira Pitzer, was killed during battle in France. His mother was overcome with grief for the rest of her life, a tragedy shared by so many families who have served in the military.
Veterans Day is to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces. But Veterans Day also should mean something more, an inspiration to win a lasting peace.
As President Dwight Eisenhower once proclaimed on Veterans Day: “Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
See my full commentary in the Des Moines Register:
The National Retail Federation says Halloween spending on candy and costumes will reach 9.1 billion this year.
To put that in perspective, the U.S. Food for Peace program, which fights world hunger, normally gets around 1.5 billion in funding a year.
The U.S. McGovern-Dole program, which feeds hungry school children overseas, might get 200 million a year from Congress.
Now imagine if even just a portion of that 9.1 billion from Halloween went to feed the hungry. The ghost of Halloween’s past tells us it can.
See my full commentary at Newsweek.
Co-authored with Brenna Gautam, a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center.
Imagine waking up tomorrow and having to flee your home with only the food and supplies you can carry, not knowing when or if you will ever be able to return.
Your homeland could be a paradise: its climate dips into lush tropical temperatures, and its mountain ranges soar to beautiful heights. But as a displaced person, heavy rains and heat slow your escape, and the mountains become a death trap, stranding thousands of your people without food.
No matter how dangerous escape is, you can’t go back: there is only “fires, bullets, knives” from where you came. So, you keep forcing yourself forward, stumbling onwards for miles over rough terrain. There is no end in sight, and the hope of finding safety as a refugee beyond your own borders seems idealistic at best.
This situation is playing out in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Myanmar. Conflict has erupted in Mynamar’s Rakhine state. The government is driving out members of the Rohingya minority: more than 200 villages have been burned and refugees have recounted harrowing stories of mass murder and rape.
See the full column at the HuffPost.
What has been tragically lost in the debate about health care is the connection to the hunger crisis in our country. According to Feeding America there are 42.2 million people living in food-insecure households, including more than 13 million children.
As families struggle to put food on the table, they are also vulnerable to health issues from the lack of nutrition. Bread for the World estimates $160 billion a year in health-related costs because of hunger in America. Its report states, “people who can’t always afford nutritious food have disproportionately higher rates of chronic diseases and poor health.”
So as Congress debates a new health care law, members should also be considering the costs of hunger, which have such a huge impact.
See my commentary in the Buffalo News (Sunday edition, July 2nd)
President Trump’s new arms agreement with Saudi Arabia ignores the most urgent threat in the Middle East: famine.
Yemen is on the brink of starvation because of a civil war between a Saudi-led coalition and rebels. Sending more arms to Saudi Arabia will strengthen its military machine to further wage war in Yemen. As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “many of the armaments we’re providing to Saudi Arabia will help them be much more precise and targeted with many of their strikes.”
What we should be doing instead is providing food to Yemen.
See my full commentary at The Hill:
Nuclear-armed North Korea’s latest missile test shows the growing threat to South Korea, Japan and even the United States. The rogue nation may gain the capability of reaching the U.S. with a nuclear missile.
There is also fear North Korea may soon conduct its sixth nuclear test explosion. Senator John McCain says the Korea standoff is “like a Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.”
See my column at the History News Network
President Trump had some harsh words for Canada recently over their trade policies for the dairy industry.
But Trump should be praising the friendship with our neighbor to the north. In fact, if he watched a recent episode of the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon he would have a good briefing in U.S.-Canadian relations.
It happened in a dance off between Fallon and actor Mike Myers. Myers was representing his homeland Canada and Fallon the United States. When the dancing duel was ending, Myers talked about the peaceful relations between the U.S. and Canada. He mentioned the Rush-Bagot agreement, which was negotiated when Canada was a colony of Great Britain.
See my column at Time Magazine.
The U.S. government’s global famine warning system has sounded the alarm on hunger. As a result of conflict and drought “70 million people, across 45 countries, will require emergency food assistance this year.”
Four countries (South Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia) are in the gravest danger of famine.
As the Trump administration gets underway, they are suddenly faced with a world hunger crisis that is “unprecedented in recent decades.” How will they respond to the biggest foreign policy emergency of their first year?
See my full article at The History News Network:
The United Nations declared famine Monday in parts of South Sudan, where 100,000 people are facing starvation. It could get much worse too with another million on the brink.
South Sudan, which has suffered immensely from civil conflict, could see over 5 million people living in hunger if no action is taken.
Read the full article at the Huffington Post: