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Saturday, November 11, 2017

On Veteran's Day, thoughts on building a lasting peace

Just eight days before the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice ending World War I, my great uncle, Ira Pitzer, was killed during battle in France. His mother was overcome with grief for the rest of her life, a tragedy shared by so many families who have served in the military.

Veterans Day is to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women in the armed forces. But Veterans Day also should mean something more, an inspiration to win a lasting peace.

As President Dwight Eisenhower once proclaimed on Veterans Day: “Let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

See my full commentary in the Des Moines Register:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Newsweek Oped on Halloween and Feeding the Hungry

The National Retail Federation says Halloween spending on candy and costumes will reach 9.1 billion this year.

To put that in perspective, the U.S. Food for Peace program, which fights world hunger, normally gets around 1.5 billion in funding a year.

The U.S. McGovern-Dole program, which feeds hungry school children overseas, might get 200
million a year from Congress.

Now imagine if even just a portion of that 9.1 billion from Halloween went to feed the hungry. The ghost of Halloween’s past tells us it can.

See my full commentary at Newsweek.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rohingya Victims Need Food, Peace and Justice

Co-authored with Brenna Gautam, a J.D. Candidate at Georgetown University Law Center.

Imagine waking up tomorrow and having to flee your home with only the food and supplies you can carry, not knowing when or if you will ever be able to return.

Your homeland could be a paradise: its climate dips into lush tropical temperatures, and its mountain ranges soar to beautiful heights. But as a displaced person, heavy rains and heat slow your escape, and the mountains become a death trap, stranding thousands of your people without food.

No matter how dangerous escape is, you can’t go back: there is only “fires, bullets, knives” from where you came. So, you keep forcing yourself forward, stumbling onwards for miles over rough terrain. There is no end in sight, and the hope of finding safety as a refugee beyond your own borders seems idealistic at best.

This situation is playing out in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Myanmar. Conflict has erupted in Mynamar’s Rakhine state. The government is driving out members of the Rohingya minority: more than 200 villages have been burned and refugees have recounted harrowing stories of mass murder and rape.

See the full column at the HuffPost.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Buffalo News Oped: Health care reform must also address hunger

What has been tragically lost in the debate about health care is the connection to the hunger crisis in our country. According to Feeding America there are 42.2 million people living in food-insecure households, including more than 13 million children.

As families struggle to put food on the table, they are also vulnerable to health issues from the lack of nutrition. Bread for the World estimates $160 billion a year in health-related costs because of hunger in America. Its report states, “people who can’t always afford nutritious food have disproportionately higher rates of chronic diseases and poor health.”

So as Congress debates a new health care law, members should also be considering the costs of hunger, which have such a huge impact.

See my commentary in the Buffalo News (Sunday edition, July 2nd)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

World Refugee Day Calls Us To Feed the Hungry

World Refugee Day (June 20) calls us to action to feed war and disaster victims who have been forced to flee their homes.

The United States must lead by increasing funding for food aid programs, not eliminate them as proposed by the Trump administration in its budget proposal.

See my full column at the Huffington Post: