Thursday, March 5, 2009

Barbara Lee introduces res: 1% of GDP for foreign aid

Feb 25, 2009, Rep Barbara Lee of California Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced legislation expressing support for providing, on an annual basis, an amount equal to no less than one percent of United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for non-military foreign assistance programs. Click here to see the announcement on her website.

"Yay!" that it is even an official resolution to consider, debate and inspire public discussion no matter what is in it! I don't yet know the particulars of the resolution or how it is being received, but I did think it was interesting is that ONE wasn't immediately jumping all over this. They are probably just being prudent and taking their time to develop a proper statement about it, but ONE activists in her district have been talking about how they are waiting on ONE's position...saying that ONE is waiting for the bill to have bipartisan support.

I mean, this is what many anti-pov groups have been pushing for...ONE more than any of them. So I hope they come out with a supportive statement soon...supportive of Rep. Lee's commitment if not for the details of the legislation. Anyway, I thought the existence of the resolution might make a good launching point for some media writing about foreign aid since ONE, Bread, RESULTS, Oxfam and everyone else are agreeing that no matter how much or how little we are spending on foreign assistance, we ought to be doing it wisely by reforming the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Let's Talk Bread: Feb recap

I'm a bit late on this, but here is the recap from the last "Let's Talk Bread" discussion. We had activists from Bread for the World, RESULTS and ONE as well as general concerned citizens at this lively discussion about foreign aid and the need to reform it this year. Anyone interested in networking with Chicago activists fighting global poverty is welcome to join us at our next meeting: Thurs., Mar. 26 from 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at United Lutheran Church, 409 Greenfield Street, Oak Park.

This recap was written by Zach Schmidt from Bread for the World's Chicago office. Feel free to continue the discussion by commenting here!
Hi everyone!

Thank you all for a lively and fruitful discussion last night. Many people were talking and sharing their thoughts, listening and challenging each other to more deeply engage the issues of hunger and reforming US foreign assistance. It was a great night! Thank you all for allowing me to help facilitate discussion.

As promised, some of the key points/themes that stand out in my mind are:
-the tension between demanding or asking or expecting certain actions
-from whom actions are demanded/asked/expected (from our leaders, from our neighbors, from ourselves)
-ways in which we are currently engaged in advocacy and activism (from clicking on The Hunger Site to organizing a group of moms to write letters to their representative)
-what is required so that all might have the basic essentials for a decent life (sacrificing luxuries, redirecting a small percentage of US GDP toward the Bottom Billion, reforming US trade policy, putting the issues before our legislators and demanding/asking/expecting a response, etc.)
-some different arguments for the importance of reducing poverty and hunger (especially, the self-interest argument(s) vs. the moral argument(s))
-why people still suffer from hunger (e.g., lack of sustained awareness of hunger)
-most people, when faced with the reality of extreme poverty and hunger, will be amenable to the need to help. The problem is people are not aware in a way that deeply grips them on a daily basis.

As I said last night, I did not take notes, so this is from memory. I apologize if I am missing someone’s great contribution! And I would invite people to Reply to All and continue the discussion via email.

Have a blessed week!