By Molly Rush
One of every four children in the world is malnourished. Many experience stunted growth, impaired brain development and health problems, irreversible by 2 years of age, writes Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times.
And the Urban Institute reports that poverty afflicts one in five American children, 15.5 million, higher than all the other developed nations except Greece, Mexico, Israel and Turkey.
In Pennsylvania, 15.1 to 19% of children, 1,548,720, are poor; African Americans 24%; Asian, 13.3%; Latinos 28.7%: Native Americans 24.6%; Whites 10.1%.
Income inequality is a major driver of poverty. The 400 richest Americans own more than 150 million ordinary Americans ; and it’s getting worse.
Globally, tax havens hide an enormous amount of wealth. A study by Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman found that 10% own more than 70% of the total wealth in China, Europe and the U.S. combined.
If Africa, Latin America and the rest of Asia were included, it would go far to explain why poor children are suffering.
The utter disregard for thousands of migrant children, separated from their families at the Border, held all over the U.S. in cages with metallic blankets, or tents in the hot sun, are not even being tracked so they can be reunited with their parents.
An attorney who was admitted to a severely overcrowded facility in Texas reported on MSNBC on June 24th that young children slept on concrete, having no soap or toothbrushes, were filthy, having a terrible stench, and lice. The youngest was 5 months old.
On June 16th a teen Mom and her premature infant “who should be in an incubator with a heart murmur,” were held without proper care in Texas.
A January report by the Inspector General of the Health & Human Services Dept. said, “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown,’’ due to “the lack of an existing, integrated data system to track separated families…”
The UN Refugee Agency said, “Children are children- -no matter where they come from or what their migration status–are children first and foremost.”
I would add that this also applies to poor and malnourished children.
We all need to find ways to take responsibility for our precious children, here and abroad.
Molly Rush is a member of the Editorial Collective and Co-Founder of the Thomas Merton Center