Friday, May 11, 2012

This Mother’s Day, Support Farmworker Mothers

From the Presbyterian Hunger Program Campaign for Fair Food and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Photo courtesy of Scott Robertson (used with permission)
 On Mother’s Day we remember the commandment to “honor thy father and mother” and give thanks for the many ways mothers promote well-being within families.  But farmworker mothers, who labor in the Florida fields providing food for families across America, struggle to feed their own families.  You can help change this.

This Mother’s Day weekend, mothers have come together — from both ends of the supply chain. Farmworker mothers and consumer mothers, bound by their universal desire to provide for their families, are uniting their voices to invite Publix Supermarket to become a part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program.  You can support their call by signing the  “Publix: Support farmworker mothers” Petition on .

“On Mother's Day, we ask that you, Publix executives, recognize our affliction and the necessity of just wages for us as farmworkers, who as mothers are responsible for feeding our children," said Immokalee mother Carmen Esquivel.

Rev. Tricia Dillon Thomas, a Publix customer and Presbyterian minister explains, "As a mother it is important to me that the food I put on the table is planted and harvested while maintaining farmworker dignity.  I cannot very well ask the Lord to bless the food and forget the farmworker."

This Mother’s Day, pray that mothers everywhere would be treated with dignity.  And sign the petition to help make that possibility real for mothers picking in the Florida tomato fields. 

Learn more about the PC(USA)’s support for the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Campaign for Fair Food at .

House Bill (HR 4970) is NOT a real VAWA

Last Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and passed the Adams (R-FL) version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization, HR 4970.  This bill fails to live up to the bipartisan Senate-passed bill (S 1925), which provides improved protections for particularly vulnerable populations.  In fact, this House bill turns back the clock on the Violence Against Women Act and is NOT a real VAWA reauthorization. 

The PC(USA), together with our interfaith partners, has been working to support the Senate-passed VAWA reauthorization (S 1925) and to defeat this harmful House bill that hurts and excludes certain survivors of violence from protections and access to the help and services they need.  In some cases, the Adams bill gives more rights to perpetrators than to victims.

The Violence Against Women Act, enacted in 1994, recognizes the insidious and pervasive nature of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, an stalking, and it supports comprehensive, effective, and costs saving responses to these crimes.  VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice and Health & Human Services, give law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges the tools they need to hold offenders accountable and keep communities safe, while supporting victims. 

The Senate-passed bill includes provisions that provide new protections for Native American women, immigrants, and LGBT victims.  The Adams bill (HR 4970) approved by the House Judiciary committee not only fails to include these new provisions, but actually rolls back important protections, including confidentiality, for immigrant victims.  In essence, this bill is picking and choosing which victims of domestic and intimate partner violence should get help.

Write to your Representative today! Tell him/her to vote NO on HR 4970- it’s not the VAWA reauthorization we want. [link]

We applaud members of the Judiciary committee who attempted to improve the Adams bill by offering amendments (all of which failed) to include vulnerable communities, such as Native women, LGBT victims, and immigrants. Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) even offered a substitute amendment that closely mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill, but that amendment was not allowed to be considered or debated. In the end, the improving amendments were not adopted, and Committee members who stand with ALL victims of violence voted NO.  Find out if your Member is on the Committee and how he/she voted below.*

Despite these disappointing results, we are not giving up. The VAWA Reauthorization is essential!  Instead of the Adams bill, the PC(USA) supports HR 4271, introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) -- a bill that mirrors the bipartisan Senate-passed bill.  The first step is to urge the full House to vote NO on the Adams bill, HR 4970, and to support instead HR 4271, an inclusive VAWA that is a real step forward for all victims of violence.

For more information, check out
*Members who voted in favor of HR 4970 in committee: Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Rep.  Steve Chabot (R-OH), Rep.  Darrell Issa (R-CA), Rep.  Randy Forbes (R-VA), Rep.  Steve King (R-IA), Rep.  Trent Frank (R-AZ), Rep.  Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep.  Tim Griffin (R-AR), Rep.  Thomas Marino (R-PA), Rep.  Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Rep.  Mike Ross (R-AR), Rep.  Sandy Adams (R-FL), Rep.  Mark Amodei (R-NV)

*Members who voted against HR 4970 in committee: Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. JerryNadler (D-NY), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oppose House Reconciliation Bill

From a blog post by Bread for the World:

Tell Your Representative to Vote NO on the House Reconciliation Bill

Marie Crise is able to use her SNAP benefits to purchase fresh,
healthy fruits and vegetables at the Abingdon Farmers Market in
Abingdon, VA. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl. From Bread blog.

We need your voice today! Congress has been proposing more cuts to programs vital to hungry and poor people. The latest is a vote that the House of Representatives will take soon on additional cuts to SNAP and Child Tax Credits

Call your member of the U.S. House of Representatives today using 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill. Or Send an Email.  Call NOW!  The House may vote as soon as Thursday, May 10.

The House of Representatives is using a legislative process known as reconciliation for the FY 2013 budget. (Reconciliation reduces the federal deficit by changing mandatory programs such as SNAP. It instructs authorizing committees in Congress to change eligibility requirements or benefit levels to save money.)

This reconciliation bill, which the House of Representatives is about to vote on, will have a devastating impacts on hungry and poor people. Please call your representative now at 1-800-326-4941 and tell them to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill.  Or Send an Email.

Here are the basic talking points:
  • We support a Faithful Federal Budget that “act[s] with mercy and justice by serving the common good, robustly funding support for poor and vulnerable people, both at home and abroad, and exercising proper care and keeping of the earth.
  • Don’t balance the budget by cutting programs for hungry and poor people.
  • SNAP is a lifeline for 46 million vulnerable Americans struggling to put food on the table. Eighty-five percent of SNAP benefits go to families with children, elderly or disabled people.
  • The Child Tax Credit effectively lifts millions of children and families out of poverty every year. In 2010, the Child Tax Credit lifted 1.3 million children out of poverty.
If you have more time, you can also use the following points to expand your message:
  • Cutting programs that serve poor and vulnerable populations is not the way to reduce our deficits. Congress must take a balanced approach that maintains our commitment to serving those in need.
  • SNAP efficiently and effectively delivers food assistance to the neediest individuals and families. A recent study confirms that SNAP not only lifts families out of poverty, but also alleviates the depth and severity of poverty.
  • The House proposed cuts to SNAP are tantamount to saying that every religious congregation across the United States needs to come up with an estimated extra $50,000 a year for the next 10 years to make up the difference.
  • Food banks have seen a nearly 50 percent increase in demand since 2006. Any cuts to nutrition programs will put an even greater strain on charities and churches providing emergency food assistance.
  • A parent with two kids working full-time at minimum wage in our country doesn’t earn enough to keep the family above the poverty line. Refundable tax credits, like the Child Tax Credit, boost earnings so working parents don’t have to raise their children in poverty.
  • The bill proposes to cut state funding for services that play a critical role in preventing child abuse, increasing the availability of child care, and providing community-based care for elderly and disabled individuals. In 2009, just some of these funds provided adult protective services for well over 500,000 seniors.
Every time Congress proposes these types of harmful cuts to programs for hungry and poor people, we must loudly oppose it. These types of cuts are unacceptable. We need to continue to put the pressure on the House of Representatives.  So please call today.  

Call your representative at 1-800-326-4941 and tell him or her to VOTE NO on the reconciliation bill today! Or Send an Email.