Archive | September 2013

Help Fight Breast Cancer

Hurt Woman

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fast approaching. The month of October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). It has been reported that the first NBCAM program took place in October 1985. It was a week-long event. The overarching objective of the event was to fill the information void in public communication about breast cancer.

Despite on-going cancer research, cancer still attacks 10,000,000 people per year worldwide. Annually, 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer and nearly 555,000 people will die in our nation this year alone. According to the CDC, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women.

In 2006 (the most recent year numbers are available)—
•191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer.*†
•40,820 women died from breast cancer.*†

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer.[i] Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer).[ii] Although African-American women have a slightly lower incidence of breast cancer after age 40 than Caucasian women, they have a slightly higher incidence rate of breast cancer before age 40.[iii] However, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age. Breast cancer is much less common in males; by comparison, the disease is about 100 times more common among women.[iv] According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1,910 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among men in the United States in 2009.[v]

If you are concerned about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to gather as much information as is available. For more information, you can visit the websites for: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , and the National Cancer Institute.

†Source(s): U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2006 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta (GA): Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Cancer Institute; 2010. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/uscs. http://www.nbcam.org.

*Note: Incidence counts cover approximately 96% of the U.S. population and death counts cover 100% of the U.S. population. Use caution in comparing incidence and death counts.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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[i] http://www.nbcam.org

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

I am Troy Davis

praying woman

Saturday, September 21, 2013, marked the secondary anniversary of the execution of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia. Millions of people around the world will always remember Troy Davis, his sister Martina Correia , and the incredible fight to save his life. The struggle for justice for Troy Davis and for all person wrongfully incarcerated persons housed in prisons throughout this country continues. As a result, more states have repealed the death penalty.

When he was facing execution in 2008, Troy wrote in a letter”….no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated.

“There are so many more Troy Davis across our nation. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe.”

The newly released book, I am Troy Davis, co-authored by Troy Davis, Martina Correia, and Jen Marlowe is available at Haymarket Books. Recently, Democracy Now! aired a segment about Troy Davis, the fight to save his life, and the newly released book about him and his family. You can watch their coverage here:
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/21/remembering_troy_davis_questions_remain_over
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/9/20/i_am_troy_davis_supporters_family.

Source(s): Amnesty, NAACP

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

In the Public Good: Millions of Hungry Children?

child praying

The United States House of Representatives just passed an unconscionable bill cutting $40 billion from the Food Stamps program (also known as SNAP). The United States House of Representatives who voted for these drastic and unconscionable cuts may think allowing millions of children to go to bed hungry in one of the wealthiest nations in the world is acceptable, but we know this is not in the public good.

The truth is: if these cuts make it through the Senate as well, it would leave families across the country struggling to keep food on the table. The cuts would affect over four million people, taking away a vital safety net that help families make ends meet when times are rough or an unexpected crisis hits. It would leave parents struggling to provide for their children, and would mean more people across America going hungry every night.

Take action today: Call on your senator to say NO to these devastating cuts to the food stamp program. Lets be clear, without SNAP, many indigent families assert that their children would “probably would not have food to eat.”

For those of you that read this post and take action to prevent further cuts to SNAP, I thank you for taking action on this very important issue and lending your voice to children who cannot protect themselves.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

No Child Should Go To Bed Hungry

little girl handing over phone

Because of the particularly challenging economic times confronting our nation, I often write about legislative action which will improve or harm the quality of life for the most vulnerable members of society including but not limited to indigent children and youth. More than one (1) in five (5) children lives in poverty and nearly one (1) in four (4) is at risk of hunger.

Often, I write about pending legislation which impacts indigent children, youth, and families with the goal of encouraging the reader to act to protect vulnerable families. I know that ensuring America’s children and youth are connected to healthy food where they live, learn and play is as important to you as it is to me.

Over twenty-five (25) percent of the children in the US under the age of six live in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. As poverty surged last year to its highest level since 1993, median household income declined, leaving the typical American household earning less in inflation-adjusted dollars than it did in 1997.

One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program. Child homelessness in the United States is now thirty-three (33) percent higher than it was back in 2007. More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

According to the USDA, over twenty six (26) million people benefited from SNAP last year. Over 80% of food stamp benefits go to families with children. One in five food stamp households includes an elderly family member, and one in four includes a disabled member. Increasingly, working families must rely on food stamps to supplement their wages in low-paying jobs.

The food stamp program is not a government handout – it is a true safety net program that provides access to food for people who cannot afford to choose between rent, medicine, child care and transportation. And it is efficient: The National Journal recently named SNAP “one of the government’s top successes” and the Government Accountability Office has repeatedly reported on the successes of this important program.

In the month of June, Republican members of Congress attempted to cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps, and failed. SNAP is our government’s first line of defense against hunger and malnutrition, and it should be better equipped to accomplish that task, not gutted for the sake of politics. Will you join me and add your name to the petition started by Rep. Jim McGovern telling House Republicans to vote down cuts to food stamps?

As stated by Representative Jim McGovern recently stated, “…any rational person would say that [Republican members of Congress] went too far. Instead, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, has doubled down on the crazy, and drafted a bill that doubles the cuts to SNAP…” “Hunger shouldn’t be a political issue. We urge you to reject $39 billion in cuts to SNAP, and ensure that the 49 million people who are hungry in America – 17 million of whom are children – aren’t left without life-saving, vital aid..”

My question for the day is as follows: Why should one of the wealthiest nations in the world put children and other vulnerable persons at risk? As stated previously, drastic cuts to SNAP are being considered that would result in millions of Americans loosing SNAP benefits. If Congress cuts funding for this poverty relief program, it will affect millions of children and families, leaving them even more vulnerable to hunger in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

Will you join me in speaking up for children right now, by asking your member of Congress in the US House of Representative to protect SNAP from any further devastating cuts? If so, please contact your Representative and ask them to not balance the budget on children and youth.

Your elected officials in Washington, DC need to hear from you loud and clear, since the children who rely on SNAP are unable to speak from themselves to our elected officials.

As was recently shared in an action alert from anti-hunger programs, there are a lot of misconceptions about receives SNAP. Lets be clear, without SNAP, many indigent families assert that their children would “probably would not have food to eat.”

For those of you that read this post and take action to prevent further cuts to SNAP, I thank you for taking action on this very important issue and lending your voice to children who cannot protect themselves.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi

Source(s): Representative Jim McGovern Action Alert. No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength Action Alert. http://www.congress.org. Feeding America. Action Alert Voices for Americas Children. Action Alert Bread for the World. St. Vincent de Paul Society. National Center on Family Homelessness.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

What does economic autonomy have to do with domestic violence?

Thinking Woman

Domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of countless victims. An important factor to consider when pondering the question why doesn’t the victim leave is her/his economic ability to live independently. Studies indicate that one of the best predictors of whether a victim will be able to stay away from her abuser is her degree of economic independence. However, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking often negatively impacts victims’ ability to maintain employment.

Abusers often seek to exert financial control their partners by actively interfering with their ability to work, including preventing their partners from going to work, harassing their partners at work, limiting the access of their partners to cash or transportation, and sabotaging the child care arrangements of their partners. [2] Studies indicate that between 35 and 56 percent of employed battered women surveyed were harassed at work by their abusive partners. [3]

Victims of domestic violence also often miss work due to injuries, court dates, and safety concerns requiring legal protections. Victims of intimate partner violence lose 8,000,000 days of paid work each year–the equivalent of over 32,000 full-time jobs and 5,600,000 days of household productivity.[4] According to a 1998 report of the General Accounting Office, between 1/4 and 1/2 of domestic violence victims surveyed in 3 studies reported that they lost a job due, at least in part, to domestic violence.[5] Women who have experienced domestic violence or dating violence are more likely than other women to be unemployed, to suffer from health problems that can affect employability and job performance, to report lower personal income, and to rely on welfare.[6]

Domestic violence also affects perpetrators’ ability to work. A recent study found that 48% of abusers reported having difficulty concentrating at work and 42% reported being late to work. Seventy-eight ( 78) percent reported using their own company’s resources in connection with the abusive relationship. More than 35 percent of stalking victims report losing time from work due to the stalking [11] and 7 percent never return to work. [12] The Bureau of National Affairs has estimated that domestic violence costs United States employers between $3,000,000,000 and $5,000,000,000 annually in lost time and productivity, while other reports have estimated the cost at between $5,800,000,000 and $13,000,000,000 annually. [13]

United States medical costs for domestic violence have been estimated to be 1,000,000,000 per year.[14] Ninety-four percent of corporate security and safety directors at companies nationwide rank domestic violence as a high security concern.[15] Already, 25 States and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly provide unemployment insurance to domestic violence victims in certain circumstances; however, these laws vary in the extent to which they effectively address the special circumstances of victims of domestic violence and very few of the laws explicitly cover victims of sexual assault or stalking.[16]

Five States provide victims of domestic or sexual violence with leave from work to go to court, to the doctor, or to take other steps to address the violence in their lives, and several other States provide time off to victims of crimes, which can include victims of domestic and sexual violence, to attend court proceedings. However, many States have no employment-protected leave provisions that allow victims of domestic or sexual violence to take the time off they need to address the violence. [17] Domestic violence victims and third parties who help them have been subjected to discriminatory practices by health, life, disability, and property and casualty insurers and employers who self-insure employee benefits who have denied or canceled coverage, rejected claims, and raised rates based on domestic violence.

Although some State legislatures have tried to address these problems, the scope of protection afforded by the laws adopted varies from State to State, with many failing to address the problem comprehensively. Moreover, Federal law prevents States from protecting the almost 40 percent of employees whose employers self-insure employee benefits.

Sources: Listed below in the footnote section. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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1. EVAN STARK & ANNE FLITCRAFT, WOMEN AT RISK: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WOMEN’S HEALTH xvii, 10, 202 (1996).

2. JODY RAPHAEL & RICHARD M. TOLMAN, TRAPPED IN POVERTY, TRAPPED BY ABUSE: NEW EVIDENCE DOCUMENTING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND WELFARE (1997).

3. U.S. GEN. ACCT. OFFICE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVALENCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT AMONG WELFARE RECIPIENTS 19 (Nov. 1998).

4. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.

5. U.S. GEN. ACCT. OFFICE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVALENCE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT AMONG WELFARE RECIPIENTS 19 (NOV. 1998).

6. DETIS T. DUHART, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, VIOLENCE IN THE WORKFORCE, 1993-1999 2 (DECEMBER 2001).

7. GREG WARCHOL, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, 1992-96 2 (July 1998).

8. DETIS T. DUHART, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, VIOLENCE IN THE WORKFORCE, 1993-1999 2 (DECEMBER 2001).

9. GREG WARCHOL, U.S. DEP’T OF JUSTICE, WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, 1992-96 4 (July 1998).

10. E. Ellis, B. Atkeson and K. Calhoun, An Assessment of the Long Term Reaction to Rape, 50 J. ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY No. 3, 264 (1981).

11. Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.

12. PATRICIA T JADEN & NANCY THOENNES, NAT’L INST. OF JUST. & CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, STALKING IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM THE NATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SURVEY 11 (April 1998). PATRICIA TJADEN & NANCY THOENNES, NAT’L INST. OF JUST. & CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, STALKING IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM THE NATIONAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SURVEY 11 (April 1998).

13. Joan Zorza, Women Battering: High Costs and the State of the Law, CLEARINGHOUSE REV., Vol. 28, No. 4, 383, 385 (1994); National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.; “Intimate Violence Costs Billions,” ABC News, 4/29/2003.

14. Joan Zorza, Women Battering: High Costs and the State of the Law, LEARINGHOUSE REV., Vol. 28, No. 4, 383, 385 (1994).

15. JOSEPH A. KINNEY, NAT’L SAFE WORKPLACE INST., DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MOVES INTO WORKPLACE (1994).

16. NOW LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN FACT SHEETS ON STATE LAWS: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, ( at http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/laws-ui.shtml (April 1, 2003 (states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming); State Net 2003 Bill Tracking HI S.B. 931 (Hawaii Governor signed law on 5/19/2003); State Net 2003 Bill Tracking MT S.B. 180 (Montana Governor signed provision on 4/14/2003 to make law permanent); StateNet 2003 Bill Tracking IL H.B. 3486 (passed both Houses 6/1/03) ) (Please note: Legal Momentum is the new name of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. The new link to the fact sheet is http://www.legalmomentum.org/issues/vio/ui.pdf)

17. NOW LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND, VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN FACT SHEETS ON STATE LAWS: UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, ( at http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/laws-ui.shtml (April 1, 2003 (states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming).

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Youth

child praying

Over 15 million children in our nation live in homes where there has been at least one incident of domestic violence in the past year, and seven million children live in families where severe partner violence has occurred. Data indicates that 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home. Growing up in abusive household can pose a threat to not only the child’s physical health but his mental health as well.

Research indicates that the non-abusive parent is often one the most important protective factors in the lives of children who witness domestic violence. All women, children, and men have the right to live in a safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional, physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse.

Often, one of the greatest concerns for battered women is the affect of living in a violent home environment on children. In some instances, the domestic becomes so severe that women with children leave their homes without a place to go. Research indicates that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness. In a 2007 report by the United States Conference of Mayors, thirty-nine percent of the city leaders who were surveyed identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness among households with children.

Victims of domestic violence experience difficulty finding housing. There simply are not sufficient beds to house all the battered women and their children seeking shelter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors report indicated that city leaders turn persons experiencing homelessness away from shelters and transitional housing because of lack of capacity all or some of the time. Not only do battered women experience challenges in securing a bed in a shelter, they also often have difficulty securing a safe, decent, affordable apartment.

Domestic violence thrives on apathy. It can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. How you can help? Advocate for increased funding for domestic violence programs and public housing.

Sources:United States Conference of Mayors. Center for Diseaese Control & Prevention (CDC), National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. McDonald, Renee, Ernest N. Jouriles, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, et al. 2006. Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families; Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Women Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154; U.S. Conference of Mayors. 2007. A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 23-City Survey. Washington, DC.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Violence Against Women Act: VAWA’s Birthday

serious woman face

Today, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) turned nineteen years old. On September 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed this piece of critical legislation. Drafted by former Sen. Joe Biden’s office and approved with bipartisan support, it was designed to give better protection and recourse to women experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault.

Annually, 12.7 million men and women in the U.S. are physically abused, raped or stalked by their partners.[i] That is approximately the number of people in New York City and Los Angeles combined.[ii] That is 24 people every minute.[iii] These are people we know.

VAWA provides money to: enhance investigation and prosecution of violent crimes perpetrated against women, increase pre-trial detention of the accused, impose automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allow civil redress in cases where prosecutors elect not to prosecute. Some have described this law as “the greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades.”

VAWA was reauthorized by Congress in 2000, and again in December 2005. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 5, 2006. This year, VAWA was reauthorized. The latest version of VAWA expanded federal protections to the LGBT community, Native Americans and immigrants.

Since 1994, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped 64 percent, according to the White House. But there’s still plenty of work ahead to reduce violence and maintain federal and state funding for anti-violence programs. So as we celebrate another year of this important law, let’s light candles but hold the confetti.

For more information, visit the United States Department of Health and Human Services violence against women website and the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Sources: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ms. Blog.