Friday, February 20, 2009

U.S. must fight diseases of poverty: Chicago Trib LTE

This is a letter to the editor that ran in the Chicago Tribune online edition on Feb 19, 2009. I'm going to use this as an example of grassroots advocacy at work. Members of two chapters of RESULTS (Chicago-Oak Park group and N. Chicago group) have met with Rep. Jan Schakowsky to ask her to champion the cause of the Global Fund. This LTE was generated to
- help raise awareness of the issue in our area
- show our IL members of Congress that we are actively working on it
- offer praise and support to Schakowsky (and Durbin)
- get a reminder out to Schakowsky about what we want her to do and a suggestion for Durbin

It's important to know that members of _both_ groups wrote in to the Trib. A letter has a much better chance of getting published if the paper has also received others on the same subject. That tells them that more than one of their readers cares about an issue. So, if you want poverty issues to get more print space than the latest Britney Spears scandal, rally your troops and get a lot of letters in at once. --ccyl

U.S. must fight diseases of poverty
February 19, 2009
The increase in internationally introduced tuberculosis in Chicago ("Border a crossroads for TB," News, Feb. 16) highlights a reason the U.S. must fully fund efforts to fight diseases of poverty. Global health issues become more local every day. Yet even if we could keep tuberculosis out of our borders, we wouldn't be free of our moral obligation to save lives. Nor could we ignore political effects of global disease when our military is sent into volatile areas destabilized by hunger and life-claiming illness.

Sadly, the U.S. backed out of its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Our fair share is an urgently needed $1 billion for 2009, less than one-third of December bonus money given to Merrill Lynch executives. Illinois leaders like Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sen. Richard Durbin with strong records supporting global health should push their colleagues and President Obama to authorize funding to fulfill our Global Fund commitment.

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