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Immigration Makes Guest Appearance at Oscars 2015: a MomsRising Blog Carnival

Actor Sean Penn’s ribbing of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu -- "Who gave this son of a b**ch his green card?" -- may have been intended as a joke between two old friends, it had no place on this year’s Oscar stage. 

Oscar fact: Iñarritu is the 5th consecutive foreign-born person to win the best director award, although no other winner has been the butt of such a joke. Also, at a time when 11 million lives – three-quarters women and children – are in limbo due to Congress’s inaction on immigration; we need action, not “jokes." That is why we have dedicated this space to talking about the real issues, real insights, and real complexities relating to  immigration, contemporary culture, and yes the to the Oscars, too.  

Please take a moment to leave comments and share the stories with your social media networks.

Good Food Force Update: School Breakfast, Black History Month G+ Hangout & more!

This week we're talking about the importance of healthy school breakfast, sharing Sunday food traditions, and announcing a special Google+ Hangout taking place next Tuesday night. Please read, share and stay awesome! Thank you!
 
1. HOT LINE
Learn & Spread the Word About the School Breakfast Program
You know the old saying: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for school-aged children who are growing, learning, and trying to achieve. So what happens when they can’t get breakfast at home? Luckily we have the School Breakfast Program in more than 89,000 schools around the country. Children who qualify receive free or reduced-price breakfast that meets the new healthy meal guidelines in a school setting. Unfortunately, the School Breakfast Program isn’t feeding nearly as many low-income students as it should be... Find out what we can do to get more kids to participate on the blog. 
 
2.

Updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide important recommendations on diet, nutrition and health, and serve as the foundation for federal food-assistance programs like SNAP (food stamps), WIC and school meals. The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services are expected to release updated guidelines by the end of this year; they were last updated in 2010. As part of the process, an Advisory Committee (DGAC) has just released a scientific report, which provides advice for the final policy report on essential nutrients, the importance of physical activity, sustainability, the food environment, and more.

The committee calls for "immediate attention and bold action" to address health challenges affecting the U.S. population, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Specific findings from the report: 

Victory! New Labor Rule Allows Employees Across the U.S. To Take FMLA Leave To Care for a Same-Sex Spouse

On Monday morning, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a new rule allowing employees to take unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for their same-sex spouse, regardless of where the couple lives. Previously, employees were only eligible to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse if they lived in a state that recognized their marriage – meaning couples living in the states that do not recognize same-sex marriages could not access this critical benefit. Today, same-sex couples living in every state are permitted to take FMLA leave to care for one another, as long as their marriage was valid in the state where it was celebrated.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is the first and only federal law created to help American workers balance the demands of both their work and family. Under the law, employers with 50 or more employees are required to grant workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. Since its passage in 1993, FMLA leave has been used by workers more than 200 million times – but was not fully accessible to LGBTQ workers until today.

Protect ALL kids from aggressive junk food marketing!

Take Action!

Did you know? Each year, U.S. food and beverage companies spend nearly $2 billion (Yes, that’s billion with a “b”!) marketing to children — and most ads promote unhealthy foods and drinks.*

Whether they're putting our kids' favorite characters on junk food packaging, sending special deals and invitations via mobile phones, or sponsoring school events and materials, companies are purposefully bypassing parents to cultivate our kids into what they hope will be lifelong consumers of unhealthy foods. Pretty scary, right?

*It’s time for this to change! Companies should not be attempting to bypass parents by marketing unhealthy soda, candy, chips, and other junk food directly to our kids. Please join me in asking them to stop: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/CFBAI2015/?source=blog.

On Infant Feeding: Research, Support and Community

Can you talk about your commitment to breastfeeding support, and how you began?

My interest and commitment to infant feeding support developed out of my clinical, graduate, and personal experiences.  As a public health nurse working with pregnant and parenting African American women and their families, I observed infant feeding disparities within our client population.  At intake, the majority of our clients would state an intention to exclusively breastfeed; however many clients encountered challenges (e.g. lack of support and limited resources) and were unable to successfully initiate or maintain breastfeeding for a significant amount of time.  Subsequently, I often dealt with the emotional ramifications of unsuccessful breastfeeding as clients would blame themselves or their bodies.  I became an IBCLC in an effort to better support my clients, their families, and the community.

What is an area of breastfeeding support that is being overlooked and what should be done about it?

Let's Defy Breastfeeding Myths

My commitment to breastfeeding started as a young mother. I believe it is the best start we can give our babies.

My first child was not breastfed because of a myth that my husband had. He believed that the breasts were not meant for that purpose because it was an old fashioned concept. He also believed that the breasts were a means of pleasure. I, on the other hand, did not see things the same way. I relented to his wishes not to breastfeed, but vowed that any children that I had after the first would be breastfed.

All of my other children were breastfeed for at least 2 years.

I didn’t know about the value of mother’s milk, the values of colostrum and the antibodies it provided early in life. I didn’t know about the bonding effect it had for me and my babies. The only things I knew were that I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to warm a bottle, I didn’t have to carry powder and bottles every time I left the house, I didn’t need a stove, microwave, or hot water. By breastfeeding, I just wanted to defy my husband and prove a point. I quickly realized that I had everything I needed and those were the perks.

Must Job Seekers Give Employers a Reason to Reject Them?

Imagine you’re a warehouse manager. You need a new worker and are choosing between three finalists. All are equally qualified, and all say they can meet the job requirements. But two of them, it turns out, are pregnant.

· Danielle is barely five months along, and showing only a little.

· At seven months Lisa is quite visibly pregnant.

· Kim, the third candidate, is not pregnant.

Although the job involves lifting and ladder-climbing, you’ve previously offered special gear for pregnant and temporarily disabled workers. Extra leave, too, if needed. It’s expensive, but not an undue hardship.

During interviews neither Danielle nor Lisa mentions being pregnant; you don’t ask. But looking at Lisa’s belly, you assume that she’s pregnant and will need accommodation. You’re in no mood for the extra cost, so you cross her off your list. Meanwhile you don’t realize Danielle is pregnant, so you offer her the job.

Have you discriminated illegally against Lisa? Probably: On these facts, you have likely violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.

The Reality

Great news! Seattle expands access to paid parental leave

GREAT news from Seattle! Sending a round of applause & thank you to the Seattle City Council, especially Councilwoman Jean Godden for leading the charge that just expanded access to paid parental leave to all City of Seattle employees.

Beyond honored to speak & share the voices of moms at the City Council press conference to welcome this new policy today. Every step forward counts. Right now, only 5% of low wage workers, and 12% of all workers, have access to paid family leave after a new baby arrives. And right now the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world without this crucial policy that helps boost businesses bottom line by increasing retention & productivity, helps lower the wage gap, saves tax payer dollars due to lower reliance on food stamps and public assistance, and allows families to thrive.

See this Pittsburgh Mom in Action!

Take Action

At MomsRising, we know moms are changing more than diapers everyday—and sometimes that includes making sure all moms have access to diapers!

That’s why I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tell you about Heather, a local Pittsburgh “Mom in Action” and blogger of Diary of a First Time Mom, who has helped organize the Burgh Baby Diaper Drive (February 1-28) as a way to give back to Pittsburgh’s smallest residents. 

Sign up to get involved with the Burgh Baby Diaper Drive and support this super mom’s great work.

You can help address diaper need in Pittsburgh!

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