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Working families in Memphis tell CCC writing fellow their questions for GOP debate

By Wendi Thomas

Center for Community Change Writing Fellow

Ten Republican presidential candidates will take the stage in Cleveland Thursday for the GOP’s first televised primary debate.

When they do, many voters in Memphis, the nation’s poorest large metro area, will be listening for solutions to the issues that matter most in their community.

Tami Sawyer, a local organizer in the Black Lives Matter movement, wants to know the candidates’ plans for reinvestment in inner-city communities.

Ella Collins, a home health care worker, is looking for a commitment to creating good jobs with decent wages and benefits for working families.

Rev. Earle Fisher, a pastor and social justice activist, wants proof that the GOP has a strategy to support citizens who struggle the most.

In Memphis, the poverty rate is more than 27 percent. Just over 33 percent of blacks and 47 percent of Latinos live below the poverty line, which is $24,250 for a family of four.

Why are the Girl Scouts Partnering with Barbie?

A few years ago I surprised myself by getting involved with my daughter's Daisy Girl Scout troop. What began as an hour of volunteering blossomed into co-leading of a delightful group of girls. I was happy that my daughter joined the Girl Scouts. The organization's progressive policies had impressed me, especially in contrast to The Boy Scouts. 



Daughter's troop planting a garden for our local food pantry


My feelings changed drastically a year ago last spring, when I learned of the Girl Scouts' partnership with Mattel Toy’s Barbie line. I could not believe the news, which still makes me sick to my stomach. How could a girls leadership organization embrace a product that so blatantly represents the objectification of women? I postponed my official training to be a Girl Scout leader. I felt betrayed, and very conflicted.

My Story: I'm a Grandmother and a GenderAvenger

by Bea O'Rourke 

I'm getting ready to celebrate August 15th, 2015, the 95th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Women finally got the right to vote thanks to those early GenderAvengers who rejected complacency, pushed hard, and risked all for equal places at our society's tables. It has been worth it. It just makes sense.

Now, at almost seventy-eight years of age with four adult children (three daughters and a son) and nine grandchildren (five granddaughters and four grandsons), it just makes sense to support the mission of GenderAvenger.

When Breastfeeding Starts with Dollars and Sense

And we’re off with National Breastfeeding Month 2015! Where conversations about breastfeeding normally start with infant feeding choices, this year’s events begin with attention to a critical factor affecting that choice: paid family leave. Convention suggests that by providing parents with information about the benefits of breastfeeding, persuasive infographics comparing human milk and artificial formula, photos of celebrities and ordinary sheroes bonding with their infants through breastfeeding despite their personal challenges, new mothers will be overcome with inspiration to keep their new baby latch on for a full year as recommended by the  American Academy of Pediatrics. The reality is that for as massive as that list of proverbial carrots is for breastfeeding, there are formidable sticks to counter throughout our society and communities. This is why paid family leave is crucial.

My remarks urging Attorney General Lynch to investigate the death of Sandra Bland

My name is Nina Perez and I am here today on behalf of MomsRising and our million plus members to say that we are heartbroken that yet another mother has had to bury her child too soon. No mother should have to face that tragedy, or have to live in fear that their child will be harmed at the hands of those charged with their protection.

More and more Americans are becoming aware of the ways in which the police racially profile, assault, or even kill Black men and women at significantly higher rates than White people and are calling for needed change.

Medicaid at 50: Five Decades of Working for Kids

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Medicaid, the program that provides health coverage for low-income kids and families, as well as seniors and people with disabilities.

Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal government and the states and provides cost-efficient and effective coverage for its beneficiaries by paying hospitals, doctors and other health care providers for the services they deliver to eligible patients.

Across the country, nearly 33 million kids get health care through Medicaid — that’s two out of every five kids in the United States. You can see how many kids and families in your state benefit from Medicaid here.

Coca-Cola deal with Monster Energy bad for children

A recent deal between Coca-Cola and Monster Energy reinforces some common challenges that parents face every day:

How do we protect our children from companies that spend so much time coming up with new ways to sell things to our children? How do we keep our children healthy when billions are spent every year marketing junk food to them?

We must take action when we become aware of new threats to our children’s health. Case in point: the Coke Monster.

Coca-Cola just purchased a 17% stake in Monster Energy for $2.15 billion dollars. This deal comes at a time when sales of traditional soft drinks are declining for the tenth straight year because parents like you and I are more aware of the health effects of sugary soft drinks. However, sales of energy drinks are on the rise even though they are sugary soft drinks with much more caffeine and other stimulants than regular soda.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due for New Policies

Why does my inbox have messages saying that Maine’s new law against shackling pregnant women is an “accidental win”? True, the governor of Maine let this and a number of other progressive bills become law without his signature, and then claimed to have vetoed them. But if activists hadn’t run such an effective campaign to win hearts and minds in the legislature, the governor wouldn’t have had the bill on his desk in the first place.

Read my take over at RH Reality Check on the crucial role of advocacy in winning positive change.

#Radio: "We Do Not Live Single Issue Lives"

"There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives." -- Audre Lorde

Great ‪#‎radio‬ conversation this week that covered multiple overlapping issues from making sure everyone gets the overtime pay they deserve to raising the minimum wage; from ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ and pay equity to childcare; from education, immigration and to even Trump with spectacular guests, including:

MN at one end, MS at the other: See How Your State Ranks for Child Well-Being

Five years ago, our country was in the midst of the Great Recession. At that time, 17 million children lived in low-income working families. Since the recession officially ended in 2009, our country has been slowly recovering. Many economic indicators, if not at pre-recession levels, are at least heading back in the right direction. However, according to the new 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 18.7 million children lived in low-income working families in 2013 – roughly 1.7 million more children than in 2008. Nearly a third of children lived in families where no parent was working full time in 2013. The report is an annual publication that assesses child well-being using 16 indicators in the areas of economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

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