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A Muslim Mom's Visit Today with President Obama

Today I was very honored to be one of the participants at a roundtable discussion today with President Obama when he visited a Baltimore-area mosque. It was a historic moment as it was the first time in his presidency to visit a mosque in the United States. It was also a personally significant moment to have the opportunity to meet and welcome the President to the mosque where I met my husband 14 years ago.

Demand Justice And Solutions For Flint! #FlintWaterCrisis

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As parents, we do all we can to keep our kids healthy. And we rely on our government to make sure we have access to essentials like clean water. That shouldn't change depending on what color we are, our income level, or where we live. 

That's why we're beyond mad about the lead contamination of drinking water in Flint, Michigan. Join us in demanding justice from the Michigan State Legislature. When you click this link, you instantly sign on if we already have all your information. http://action.momsrising.org/sign/Flint_2016/

Here's what happened. In April 2014, in an effort to cut costs, an emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the Flint water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. Long story short: dangerous levels of lead seeped into the water supply, posing long-term and serious health risks for local residents. 

Wellness Wednesday Recap: The Flint Water Crisis

By now you've probably heard the news. In April 2014, in an effort to cut costs, an emergency manager appointed by Governor Snyder switched the Flint water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. City workers then failed to take appropriate measure to ensure lead didn't leach from pipes into the water supply.

The water turned brown, young children broke out in rashes, and the hair of some residents began falling out. Yet denied there was a problem, failed to adequately test the water quality, insisting that it met federal standards and was safe to drink. Can you imagine?

Even as residents started organizing and the Flint City Council voted to reconnect to the safer water supply in Detroit, and researchers found the water supply contained over 900 times the recommended amount of lead, officials insisted that the water was safe to drink.

Bipartisan Idea to Lift Millions Out of Poverty

President Obama in his State of the Union address called us to a better politics, and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) likewise called for us to resist the temptation to “follow the siren call of the angriest voices.” Such remarks should bring glimmers of hope to voters frustrated by a hyper-partisan Congress that is often unable to pass pragmatic legislation on areas of broad bi-partisan agreement.

One of the clearest and most impactful next steps Congress can take in 2016 is to expand tax credits for low-income workers who don’t have dependent children: a bipartisan idea that would lift millions out of poverty. President Obama described this proposal in his speech as a strategy “we can all support,” and prominent Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) have favored it.

So let’s get to it! 

Fact of the Week: Roughly 25 Percent of Demand for Emergency Food and Shelter Went Unmet in U.S. Cities

A survey of select cities across the U.S. showed that roughly a quarter of individuals and families who needed emergency food and shelter were turned away because of a lack of available resources. The Hunger and Homelessness Survey from the United States Conference of Mayors, released in late December, presented the results of the survey that covered 22 cities for the period from September 2014 to August 2015. The survey found that, because not enough beds were available, emergency shelters in 76% of the survey cities had to turn away homeless families with children. Shelters in 61% of the cities had to turn away unaccompanied individuals.

Other findings from the report include:

Authorize Dental Therapy: More kids shouldn’t go through what I suffered

Many children suffer from poverty and deal with problems daily and don’t speak up. They rely on other people’s voices to tell their story and I am here to bring up my voice and tell my story. In 2008, I was simply a 7-year-old little girl that should have been playing. I should not have had to deal with the health issues that I was dealing with at the time. When I got an abscessed tooth, I didn’t know what that meant or why it hurt so badly at the time. I would complain to my mother all the time and I didn’t know why we couldn’t get it fixed.

New Research Backs Up What Parents Already Know: Healthy School Meals Make Sense

As a mom, I know that healthy school meals make sense. They nourish our kids’ bodies and minds, enabling them to learn and engage throughout the school day.
 
And a new study from Healthy Eating Research conducted in middle and high schools in Washington State backs up my common-sense mom-logic, showing that the new meal standards are working. Kids are choosing healthier lunches with fewer calories than before the new meal standards were enacted in 2012. Having more access to fruits and vegetables is the main reason why, according to the authors.
 
Findings furthermore show that participation in school meal programs has remained steady after the implementation of the new meal standards.
 
This evidence further builds the case for school meals, illustrating what a positive and important impact they’re having on our kids.

New Dietary Guidelines for Americans: what you should know

Earlier this month the government released new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide important nutrition guidance that helps everything from families to federal programs align with the latest thinking around health and nutrition. For example: nutrition labels on products? Based on the Dietary Guidelines. So are the school meal programs and WIC. Here are a few more things you should know:
 
Key elements of the new guidelines:

  • Limiting the consumption of added sugar to less than 10% calories per day. Many are hoping the FDA will now, as a result, include a line for “added sugars” on the nutrition facts labels. 
  • Limiting salt intake to 2300 milligrams/day (average consumption in US is 3400 milligrams/day). The main source of sodium? Processed foods.
  • Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables. While this recommendation has appeared on earlier versions of the guidelines, this year it tops the list. 
  • Focusing on lean meats like chicken.

Breasts Are for Breastfeeding Too

Wendy Williams just won’t stop insulting breastfeeding mothers. In 2014, the talk show host went in on Karlesha Thurman, an undergraduate student who posted an image online of herself breastfeeding at her college graduation. Last week, she offended actress Alyssa Milano, a guest on her show. According to Wendy, “breasts are sexual things” or “fun bags,” and there is no time or place for a hungry nursing baby to breastfeed in public. 

Feeding babies on demand is critical to breastfeeding moms to maintain an adequate milk supply. So for moms on the go, nursing in public is a necessity. Unfortunately, society has sexualized breasts to the point that women are being shamed for using their breasts according to their physiological design.

In addition, Black women have been impacted traumatically by the historical over-sexualization of our bodies. Negative messages in the media and in our personal lives have a profound effect on whether or not Black women have the social support necessary to provide human milk to their infants for at least the recommended first six months of life.

Get toxic chemicals out of kids' products!

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For many families, snuggling up on the couch for a story or tucking the kids into bed are treasured routines. Our children’s beds and the couches in our living rooms are places where our children and families should feel safe.

But unfortunately bedding, pillows, couches, and too many other products our children come into contact with every day too often contain toxic flame retardants that have been associated with serious health conditions including: infertility, cancer, neurodevelopmental complications, impaired memory, damage to the fetus, learning deficits, impaired IQ in children, and many other negative health effects. At the same time, many toxic flame retardants don’t have a proven track record of significantly preventing fires.

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