By Joyce Rothermel
For the past two issues of The NewPeople we have heard from many of our members and friends about the qualities they are looking for in candidates for the U.S. presidency this year. Thanks to all who participated. With no additional submissions to offer, I would like to share with you a platform for getting on track to end hunger by 2030 that I would like to ask the candidates and their supporters to embrace.
Like many of you, I have spent most of my adult life advocating for human rights and for me, the primary focus has been on the right to food. This past fall I was elected to serve on the national board of Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s leaders to end hunger at home and abroad. Bread, its members, and partners are working to make hunger, poverty, and opportunity a priority for candidates.
While the social safety-net programs that began in the 1960s have reduced poverty by about 50 percent, we can do better. To end hunger in the U.S., we need policies that enable all people to provide for themselves and their families. We must disrupt structural discrimination and injustice.
Government can’t end hunger by itself, but our government needs to provide a framework in which states, local communities, congregations, businesses, and families can work together to end hunger.
Therefore, I am joining Bread for the World in identifying candidates who will embrace a platform to end hunger in the U.S. and around the world.
To end hunger in the U.S.:
1) Create jobs that pay by growing the economy and reducing income inequality, raising the minimum wage, increasing training opportunities, expanding access to work supports (sick leave, parental leave, and child care), and improving tax credits for working families.
2) Invest in people by ensuring that everyone, regardless of race, gender and class, has access to nutrition, health care, education and housing; establishing procedures that limit the influence of money in elections and make voting accessible and easier, especially for people of color and low-income people; encouraging public-private partnerships with community groups and coalitions that work against hunger and poverty; and targeting assistance to communities of concentrated poverty.
3) Remove obstacles to earning a decent living by enforcing laws against racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination, and end discriminatory practices; reforming the immigration system to protect undocumented people and allow a path to citizenship; and reforming our criminal justice system, including measures to help people who have been incarcerated return to society and get jobs.
4) Strengthen the safety net by making our national nutrition programs stronger; maintaining other social safety-net programs like Medicaid; making federal assistance programs more efficient and accountable; and adopting government budgets that give priority to people in poverty.
To end hunger around the world:
1) Provide U.S. leadership for international systems that reduce hunger and poverty, by leading the world in implementing global goals to end hunger, reduce poverty, and combat climate change; deepening efforts to promote peace and security and address the root causes of forced migration; helping low-income countries affected by climate change cope with its impacts and do our part to slow climate change; and making the end of hunger and the reduction of poverty in our country and worldwide a purpose of U.S. agreements on international trade and investment.
2) Expand and improve development assistance focused on poverty, by making U.S. aid more efficient, accountable and locally-owned; increasing funding for health, development and humanitarian assistance; and using U.S. assistance and diplomacy to promote equality for women.
3) Invest in global food security and nutrition, by investing in sustainable agriculture among smallholder farmers and increasing funding to improve the nutrition of mothers and children.
Bread for the World has reached out to the presidential candidates and asked them to respond to these questions via videos:
“If elected, what will you do to end hunger, alleviate poverty, and create opportunity in the U.S. and worldwide? And will you publicize your position on hunger, poverty and opportunity on your website and social media?” Hear their statements at www. circleofprotection.us
Together with Bread for the World, I urge all of us to use our gift of citizenship to elect a president and other officials who will put us on track to end hunger and poverty.
Joyce Rothermel is a newly elected board member of Bread for the World and retired CEO of the Gr. Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 3. April, 2020. All rights reserved.