CommunityFDL Main Blog

Pull Up A Chair…

Poverty is a huge issue — nationwide and around the globe — and the despair and anger and marginalization that comes from living, day in and day out, in squalor and with an empty belly, for yourself and your children…this is where desperation and radicalization often take hold.  To truly fight the anger that fuels terrorist acts and genocidal rages, we need to work on the roots of the problem…and that means making a commitment, a real one, to all those people on this rock we call Earth who feel as though they have been thrown away by the rest of us.

The United Nations Millenium Campaign is hosting a number of events worldwide this weekend, and I thought a lot of our readers would be interested in where and when they will be happening.  You can find event information here.  And you can view even more videos sent in from all over the world for the campaign here.

Why stand up?

Stand Up because: – Every day 24,000 people die from hunger – Every day more than 100 million children are denied the chance to go to school – Every day 1.1 billion people have to drink polluted water – Every day 8,200 people die due to HIV/AIDS

If you wake up and have food in your pantry, in a safe home, with clean water, then have a moment of thanks this morning. This blog entry from a 16 year old girl in South Africa really brings that home:

I live in South Africa. A beautiful country with a rainbow nation. But also a country that struggles every day with poverty.

I am a 16-year old, white, middle class female. You may not find that relevant, but it is sad how it affects my daily life. My age, my race and my background. Yeah, I know. How can I know what it feels like? Why do I want to make a difference? It doesn't affect me anyway. Right? Wrong.

I see it everyday. When I climb into my parents' car and drive to school, when I walk to the nearest coffee shop with my friends, when I do community outreach work. I see people living in the pieces of open ground where the wealthy developers have not built yet. I see their houses made from plastic and rubbish. I hear their soft talking or animated voices as they wait for their turn to get soup from the big can. I feel their rough hands as I hand over the plastic sup filled with soup that probably means they will live a little longer. And I know. This has to stop.

You might think I'm just being dramatic or overly descriptive. And I'll admit it; I have this little thing where I believe I can write. But then again, I have this little thing where I believe I can make a difference, and see where that got me.

I just believe that people dying, people who are just like us and deserve everything we have, when our world has so much to offer is just wrong. And I'm standing up to remind everyone else of that fact too. Because we all know it, but we chose to ignore it. Not anymore.

Every little bit helps — and in a situation where you are helping someone who lives in extreme poverty, a little bit can mean the difference between life and death.

When someone asks me why I'm so interested and involved in our nation's politics, this is one of the issues that I point to as an example.  If we were truly committed to fighting terrorism, we wouldn't do things so bass ackwards.  Let's take some time this morning to talk about what we are doing in our own communities, for our children and our world and all the generations to come.  Pull up a chair…

(Let's also talk a little warmth and comfort this morning as well.  Fall is in full swing here, the leaves are gorgeous, but our heater is out…so what's keeping you warm and toasty, and what sorts of lovely warm soups, stews, breads…whatever…have you been making for you and yours lately?)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com