Archive | September 2014

Happy Voter Registration Day & Week!

Vote Here

This is Voter Registration Day. Hard won voting rights have been under attack throughout the country. In the past few years, twenty-two (22 ) states have passed new laws restricting the right to vote and changing voter registration rules.

With that being said, even if you have registered vote you should check that you and the people most important to you are prepared to vote this year. Have you moved since last Election Day? Make sure you are registered to vote at your new address. Maybe your friends have moved recently and need to update their voting information.

vote button

National Voter Registration Week

This is National Voter Registration Week – get informed, get organized, get registered, get everyone you know registered. And then VOTE on November 6th. Take action that can and will change the future. If you are not already registered, get registered to vote. Seize the opportunity to cast your vote.

As was aptly stated by President Johnson when discussing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

On election day, vote take a friend with you. Your vote can be decisive, stand up, speak out, be heard— cast your vote!

Let freedom ring in 2014.

Sources: Wikipedia.Children’s Defense Fund

Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art

Join the Battle Against Breast Cancer

Join the battle against breast cancer. 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.

hands with red bands

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]

praying woman

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:

*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

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act

agency wide capacity building

It has been reported that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. This year, according to the American Cancer Society, approximately 40,000 Americans will die from breast cancer .

Nationwide, health care costs associated with breast cancer totaled $16.5 billion in 2010 and resulted in $12.1 billion in lost productivity, according to an estimate by the National Cancer Institute.

In response to the growing number of Americans that are dying of breast cancer, legislation was proposed in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to facilitate collaboration in addressing this pressing public health issue.

Doctor with Patient

H.R.1830 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013 was introduced in the US House of Representatives on May 6th, 2013 by Representative Capito and Shelley Moore.

The Act directs the President to establish the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer to help end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. The Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer fills a void in federal research efforts by facilitating collaboration between agencies, disciplines, and sectors, and by highlighting promising research pathways that are not currently prioritized or funded.

Further, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013 directs the Commission to: (1) identify opportunities and ideas within government and the private sector that are key components in achieving the end of breast cancer and which have been overlooked, yet are ripe for collaboration and investment; (2) recommend projects to leverage such opportunities and ideas in the areas of the primary prevention of breast cancer and the causes and prevention of breast cancer metastasis; and (3) ensure that its activities are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, programs and laboratories of other government agencies.

The afore-referenced Act, also directs the President to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine for an evaluation of the Commission’s progress. In the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013, the Commission terminates on June 1, 2020.

Hurt Woman

865: Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) cosponsored bipartisan legislation, Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, to create a national commission dedicated to advancing breast cancer research and ending breast cancer by 2020. In the Senate, efforts to pass the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act is led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). The bill has thirty bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and a House companion bill has one hundred and ninety-two cosponsors.

Like the House version of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013, it establishes the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer to help end breast cancer by January 1, 2020.

The legislation directs the Commission to identify, recommend, and promote initiatives, partnerships, and research within the public and private sectors, basic and applied sciences, and epidemiology that can be turned into strategies to prevent breast cancer and breast cancer metastasis while giving priority to those that are: (1) not prioritized within the public sector, and (2) unlikely to be achieved by the private sector due to technical and financial uncertainty.

It requires the Commission to: (1) submit within six months to the President and to the relevant congressional committees a description of the Commission’s strategic plan; (2) submit an annual report to the President, Congress, and the public; and (3) ensure that its activities are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, programs and laboratories of other government agencies.

Further, it directs the President to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine to evaluate the Commission’s progress. The Commission terminates on June 1, 2020.

Sources: Congressional Research Service (CRS) created the summary of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013. CRS is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress. U.S. Senator Chris Coons’ website.

Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014

cute little girl continuing to paint

The US House of Representatives and the Senate are set to take action now to ensure high-quality child care for children.

Late last week, they reached an agreement on a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG), which was last authorized eighteen years ago.

children walking to school

The reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant Act would take numerous steps to improve access to high-quality care for young children and their families, including:

  • Improving the health and safety of children in Child Care and Development Block Grant Act -funded child care settings.
  • Making it easier for families to access and keep quality child care, especially low-income and homeless families.
  • Taking steps to prevent suspensions and expulsions of young children in child care.
  • Enhancing the overall quality of child care, with an additional focus on improving the quality of care for infants and toddlers. Take action today to ensure your members of Congress vote yes on the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act — crucial legislation for young children and their families.
  • High-quality child care provides a developmentally-appropriate environment for children while their parents work to support their families. It is a critical part of the continuum of high-quality early childhood development and learning services that all children and families need to thrive.
  • Please call your members of Congress and ask them to support the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014.
  • Source(s): Childrens Defense Fund and  Zero to Three

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Tell Your Senators To Increase Humanitarian Aid

african children

Mercy Corp remind us  in their  recent action alert that more than 50 million people across the world have fled their homes — the greatest number of global refugees since World War II.

Massive crises such as those in Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan are exhausting the capacity of humanitarian actors to respond. In such desperate times, it’s essential that Congress increase funding for humanitarian aid — millions of lives depend on it. 

As the conflicts continue to rage in these regions, millions more face illness, starvation and death. Their only hope is that compassionate citizens around the world will find in their heart to come to their rescue. 

Tell your Senators to increase humanitarian aid. South Sudan, over half of the people do not have enough to eat. At the same time, cholera and other water-borne diseases threaten to spread faster than aid agencies can respond.

Armed conflict and heavy rains have grounded flights and made many roads impassable for months, severely limiting the ability of humanitarian organizations to transport lifesaving supplies.

The South Sudanese people want nothing more than to restart their lives. Mothers and fathers want their children to go to school. Families want to plant seeds and crops, to earn a living. They need a respite from violence, from the struggle to survive… they need a future.

Around the world, millions of innocent civilians are trapped in complex crises like this one, forced by violence to leave their homes and face danger, uncertainty and even death.

Action is needed now — tell the Senate that there is no time to wait .

Thank you for making your voice heard on behalf of children and their families in the world’s toughest places.

Source: Mercy Corp Action Alert

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) : VAWA’s 20th Birthday

serious woman face

Tomorrow, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) turns twenty (20) 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.

depressed teen girl

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.

Woman on Computer

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.

confident woman

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

Soup Kitchen

The date of September 11th, 2001 will be indelibly etched in the collective memory of every American. Upon learning of the devastation and the tremendous loss of lives, our nation gasped in horror at the senseless loss of life.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, two (2) planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane hit the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth plane crashed in field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost three thousand (3,000) people perished and countless lives are forever changed.  In commenting on the horror that occurred on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, President Bush proclaimed that, “Our nation was deeply wounded.” President Bush went on to say that, “Out of evil came good.” I wonder. Are we safer?

Here is what I know has occurred after September 11th all in the name of keeping Americans safe from further terrorist attacks: critical domestic programs that provide necessary support have been disseminated; billions of dollars have been moved from domestic programs to the defense budget line; Vice President Cheney’s company, Halliburton[i], received a no bid government contract worth billions of dollars; a nation was bombed back into the Stone Age based on the specious claim that there were “Weapons of Mass Destruction”[ii]; countless people have lost their lives fighting two wars; individual citizens rights to privacy have been severely compromised by the Patriot Act; people presumed to be terrorist were being held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base [iii]—-that is just off the top of my head. Were these wise decisions for our nation? Do you feel safer?


Here is how out of evil can come good: 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

September 11 has been designated a National Day of Service and Remembrance. In response to the atrocities that were committed on Tuesday, September 10, 2001, a movement grew to have good concur with evil via provision of community service nationwide. The 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance was established into law by the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, and is consistent with President Obama’s overall call to service, United We Serve.” (Corporation for National and Community Service website).

In honor and in celebration of the almost 3000 persons that lost their lives on 9/11, please join me countless persons nationwide participating in service and remembrance activities on September 11, 2014 and thereafter—-in doing so, we can hopefully make some good come from that devastating day in American history.

Sources: Corporation for National and Community Service website. Wikipedia. MSNBC. Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

[i] “From 1995 to 2002, Halliburton Brown & Root Services Corp was awarded at least $2.5 billion but has spent considerably less to construct and run military bases, some in secret locations, as part of the Army’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program. This contract was a cost plus 13% contract and BRS employees were trained on how to pass GAO audits to ensure maximum profits were attained. It was also grounds for termination in the Balkans if any BRS employee spoke of Dick Cheney‘s being CEO. BRS was awarded and re-awarded contracts termed “noncompetitive” because BRS was the only company capable of pulling off the missions. DynCorp actually won the competitively let second contract, but never received any work orders in the Balkans.” (Source: Wikipedia)

“In November 2002, KBR was tasked to plan oil well firefighting in Iraq, and in February 2003 was issued a contract to conduct the work. Critics contend that it was a no-bid contract, awarded due to Dick Cheney’s position as vice president. Concern was also expressed that the contract could allow KBR to pump and distribute Iraqi oil. (Source: Wikipedia)

“On January 24, 2006, Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) announced that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build “temporary detention and processing facilities” or internment camps. (Source: Wikipedia)

“It was anticipated that Halliburton’s $2.5 billion “Restore Iraqi Oil” (RIO) contract would pay for itself as well as for reconstruction of the entire country. Plans called for more oil to be exported from Iraq‘s northern oil fields than actually occurred. Halliburton’s work on the pipeline crossing the Tigris river at Al Fatah has been called a failure. (Source: Wikipedia)

[ii] “In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.” (Source: MSNBC, April 24, 2004)

“After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,” wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.” (Source: MSNBC, April 24, 2004)

[iii] “The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq.” (Source: Wikipedia)