Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    "It's not just a political issue but a human issue"


    Official White House photo/Pete SouzaI have the unfortunate quality of feeling things really deeply. Instead of saying or thinking “oh, that’s sad” and moving on with my life I let whatever The Bad is consume me. It’s something I have been working on but after the events in Newtown, Connecticut, I cannot shake this feeling of dread. It’s that a person who was clearly depressed and had mental health issues - as evidenced by his Twitter postings - needed help and was unable to get the help he deserved.

    It could be remembering being a child when the at the time of the Oklahoma city boming and I recall reading and hearing about the bombing and how the children in that day care center perished. I remember walking up to my mother’s room while she was watching the 11 o’clock news and asking if I, too, would die from decapitation. And I remember the difficulty of the conversation my mother had to have with her then 10 year old daughter.

    It could be living in Washington during the fall of 2002 when two snipers terrorized the city.

    And it could be the thought that schools are supposed to be a safe place, a first grade classroom full of primary colors, and that isn’t the case.

    All of these things compounded in my mind make my already sensitive soul that much more delicate.

    Over at Change in Action I wrote about the reality of the need for Congress to take a stand on how guns are sold and how ammunition is available to the public. I wrote it because unfortunately we need to be  realistic when it comes to getting meaningful legislation passed.  That doesn’t mean that it can’t or shouldn’t happen it just means that there is that much more work that needs to be done and this - passing effective legislation - is something that we all need to contribute to. As the uncle of Noah Pozner, a six year old killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School said, this isn’t just a political issue, it’s a human issue.


    What's in a cup?

    I’m often attracted to (then subsequently wary of) problems that are far bigger than I. Those problems that I want to do something to fix but know that just me and whatever meager resources I have are unable to make a real dent in whatever the problem du jour.  For example getting women to feel empowered to become politically engaged or informing at least one person on the state of education in this country. Have I completely alleviated the problems surrounding both? No. But one step from me, is at least one other person now having that awareness and so on and so forth thus creating a ripple of information.

    Among other problems that I alone would never be able to eradicate is childhood hunger. It isn’t at the forefront of my mind each day but I work in education so I think about and hear statistics about the staggering number of children who are forced to attend school while hungry. Or that for so many children the only full meals they will get each day is at their school. When children aren’t being properly fed it affects their productivity, subsequently their education thus making childhood hunger a substantial societal problem. And it’s not just here, in fact, an estimated 66 million children across the developing world attend school hungry, with 23 million of them in Africa alone.  

    This epidemic is why I am happy to be working with World Food Program USA (WFP USA) to highlight the severity of global childhood hunger. WFP’s Fill the Cup campaign and the Red Cup symbolizes all it takes to feed a child a healthy, nutritious meal. Just 25 cents fills a cup with porridge, rice or beans and gives girls a monthly ration to take home.  25 cents. That’s what’s at the bottom of my purse or mysteriously underneath a table or under couch cushions. 25 cents. Something that so many of us take for granted.

    The Fill the Cup campaign is using the image of the red cup to engage the public in solving global hunger and raising awareness about the WFP’s impact. This year nearly 100 million children in 75 of the world’s poorest countries could be fed with the simple act of filling the red cup with change.




    But as I said, this isn’t something that I can do alone though it would be kind of awesome if I was like, “I will now cure childhood hunger” and BOOM! Gone. So, I’m picking five people who I hope will join me in passing the cup to fight hunger: Heather Spohr, Kristen Howerton, Karen Walrond, Stacey Ferguson and Liz Gumbinner. Visit this page to learn more about WFP’s School Meals program, grab the badge and post about it, and ask 5 others to do the same.


    *Sponsored by The Mission List and World Food Program, USA*


    The Christie Effect

    My stomach hurts when I look at photos of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The stories, the absolute devastation and decimation of cities a mere 100 miles away. Entire towns have been erased, Montauk is its own island and gas lines for hours only to realize that there is nothing left at the other end.

    I think and hope that many others feel the same when looking at photos: helpless, saddened, wanting to do more and hoping or praying for people who have just lost everything to eventually get back on their feet.

    I can say nothing more than to shake my head and say horrible.

    Do I have a tendency to make almost anything political? I do. Can I do so in this situation? No. Lives are at stake and bodies are still being recovered from homes in my own state. By now I’m sure you’ve heard that on Tuesday (the days have all one big jumbled mess right now) President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie toured the coast. Or what was once a coast and is now half coast, half homes floating in the middle of the Atlantic. At the time I gave it no other thought than, I don’t know...that’s what a president does? His job - the job that he is currently up for again - is to be the leader of this country and being the leader of this country means that when tragedy strikes he needs to be able to have a handle on the situation, those who have been affected and do what he can because HE IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Full stop.

    But that’s not what others saw:

    I - the woman who loves politics from the bottom of my cold dark heart - didn’t even think that a sitting Governor thanking a sitting president for his assistance at one of the darkest times his state has ever seen could be viewed upon with such disdain. Such vitriol. Such hate. Simply because reaching across the political aisle is a sign of weakness. Working together as ONE COUNTRY is met with horror. Bridging the gap between right and left makes one a traitor.

    I know that I’m not alone when I express my frustration towards the intense anger that this election has produced. I’m just so tired. Spent. Done. And this whole Christie/Obama genuine working relationship turned TRAITOR OMG!!!11!!! bullshit has put me over the edge.

    Four days, folks. Four more days.

    Tweets via Joe Mande


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