Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day?? Not So Happy Maybe.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. From:Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967. "We must work unceasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a higher plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness" -Dr Martin Luther King These are two quotes that seem to, in my opinion, summarize the message that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to spread. The message that he lived for and lived by and ultimately died for. The message that on this day, the day that not only do I not have to go work, but the day that I actually think about something more than myself. Something I personally have been studying for a while, due to my profession (if you don't know I'm a teacher). Have we achieved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dreams? Before you say, "Yes, of course. This nation has come a long way since the time of King's life. Things are better now......." read the statistics below. And I do believe, for the record, that Obama's presidency will be the greatest thing that this nation could have received, and that is definitely going to be a huge step in the right direction for all who care about humanity. However, one would be naive to think that he alone can make the changes necessary to become the nation that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt about. It's going to take ALL people to come together for change on this... According to "America's Cradle to Prison Pipeline", a 176 page report published by the Children's Defense Fund in October 2007: (All statistics are of the US only)
  • Every single day in America, 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect
  • A baby is born without health insurance every 47 seconds(by the way...90% of the 9 million...yes 9 million uninsured children in the US have a working parent. )
  • Every two minutes a baby is born at a low birthweight. A large percentage of these are to women who were uninsured throughout their pregnancy.
  • Every single minute a baby is born to a teen mother in the US.
  • 77 babies die before their first birthday every single day. A large amount of these deaths are of uninsured babies.
  • A child is born into poverty every 36 seconds
  • There are 5.6 million children IN THE UNITED STATES who live in extreme poverty
  • Every 3 hours a child or teen is killed by a firearm. That's 32 children per day. The equivalent of the tragic Virginia Teh massacre....every single day in the US...which did you hear most about on the news?
    Now....let's break it down by races.
  • Black babies are twice as likely as white babies to be born at a very low birthweight
  • Latino children are three times as likely, and black children 70% more likely to be uninsured. (Keep in mind.....9 in 10 of uninsured Latino children and 3 in 4 of black children have a working parent).
  • A Black baby boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime. A latino boy has a 1 in 6 chance, and a white baby boy has a 1 in 17 chance. {I don't know about you....but this is scary! My son was born in 2001....makes you think. }
  • Although Black children constitute only 16% of all children in the US, 32 percent of children in foster care are Black.

How has it changed in the last several years? This is a grim outlook at best:

  • In 2006, the number of uninsured children in the US from ages birth -18 ROSE for the second year in a row. That means another 707,000 children have become or been born uninsured in just one year, 2005-2006.This increase is nearly double the increase that existed from 2004-2005
  • On any given night in the US, 200,000 children are homeless.
  • Child poverty in America has continued to grow in recent years. In 2006, 17.4% of all children were poor. (That's 13 million children)

What does that mean for our nation? What does all of this stand for?

  • It's not about money, its about values
  • US child poverty rates exceed those of all other industrialized nations, even nations less industrialized than we are.
  • The $100 billion or more we spend on the Iraq war could lift every single child in the nation out of poverty TWICE OVER.
  • States spend nearly three times as much per prisoner than they do per student in school spending. {Gee...if the money was in education in the first place, less would be in prison} Doesn't take a rocket scientist...does it?

Well...what can I do?

  • Everybody has a part to play in their own special way. I know that through my job, I am helping to close that gap and help children every day. I also mentor troubled youth and plan to foster parent once my kids are older. But not everybody's job may entail that type of work. But there is still so much you can do! One of my goal's for 2009 is to get my kids involved in helping make a change!
  • Join Obama in renewing America! Sign up for updates and get more information on how you can help by signing up to Renew America Together at USAservice.org
  • You can even find opportunities for you and your children to volunteer in your area at USA Freedom Corps
  • Find opportunities in your area to become a mentor at Mentoring.org**This is an awesome opportunity for college students who are planning to work in education or with children to get some experience and help their resume while changing lives at the same time. By the way...did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? Now you know:)...You saw the ad campaigning for this at the top of this post...right?
  • Check out all of the ways you can help change America right from your computer! Go to Poverty In America: Take Action and check it out!
  • Spread Dr. King's message to your kids....and then let them have fun with tons of fun online activities related to today's holiday here

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is so wonderful! We need more people like you spreading the truth!!!

baby said...

Nice thought, i have read about Martin Luther before but you revealed some interesting facts (What i beleive).

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