Tag Archive | Nichelle Mitchem

Human Rights Day 2016

african children

December 10, 2016, marks the sixty-eighth (68th) anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly adopting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.

As aptly stated on the United Nation’s website, Human Rights Day presents an opportunity, every year, to ‘….celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere…”

Indian Girl

Some argue that the last four years have been remarkable in the area of human rights activism and there is a lot to celebrate – while there is a great deal that still needs to be done. There is no better moment to recommit ourselves to the work of those who came before us. It’s our turn to work to preserve human rights for our children and for all future generations.

This year, the spotlight is on the rights of all people — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, the poor and marginalized — to make their voices heard in public life and be included in political decision-making.

prisoner's hands

These human rights — the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to peaceful assembly and association, and to take part in government (articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) have been at the centre of the historic changes in the Arab world over the past four years, in which millions have taken to the streets to demand change. In other parts of the world, the ninety-nine (“99%”) percent made their voices heard through the global Occupy movement protesting economic, political and social inequality.

holding hands around globe

To help celebrate International Human Rights’ Day, it is important for each of us to join the global conversation and join the human rights movement. Join the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and United Nations Association of the United States of America, in celebrating the many accomplishments of the last four years and the work we still have ahead of us.

Source(s): United Nations.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

World AIDS Day 2016

holding hands around globe

December 1 is World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV.

Over the past quarter-century, twenty-five (25) million lives have been lost to HIV/AIDS, but remarkable strides have also been made in halting the disease’s progression.

Only 28 percent of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV have the infection under control, increasing the risk that they will spread the disease to others, U.S. health officials said Tuesday. One in five U.S. adults infected with HIV are not aware that they have the virus.

For years, people can be infected with the AIDS virus without manifesting symptoms. Of those who are aware, only half receive ongoing medical care and treatment for the illness, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest report on HIV in America.

Concerned Man on Laptop

Fortunately, HIV/AIDS is preventable. Nevertheless, each year, HIV/AIDS continues to destroy countless lives. HIV/AIDS takes the greatest toll among African-Americans, Latinos and MSM of all races. Fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS has been an uphill battle for over 30 years. This disease has disproportionately affected the black community.

One in sixteen African American men and one in thirty-two African American women will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. The rate of new infections among blacks is seven times the rate among whites. Among Hispanics, the rate of new HIV infections is three times as high as that among whites. And according to a recent CDC analysis, the HIV diagnosis rate among MSM is forty-four (44) times that of other men.

praying woman

One out of four HIV cases in our nation are among women and girls, thirteen years of age and older; and two out of three of these women and girls are African-American. “Socioeconomic and cultural factors—including poverty, discrimination, and inadequate access to health care, among others—often render black women more vulnerable to HIV than other racial/ethnic groups.

smiling mother and daughter

Many women of color are paralyzed by fear—of being stigmatized, of abandonment by their partners, and of deportation by immigration authorities. Fear of being stigmatized by HIV/AIDS appears to have at least some relationship to people’s decisions about whether or not to get tested for HIV. But most important for women of color who are often the family caregiver and breadwinner, they are afraid of their families’ reactions to either their HIV status or disclosure of sexual orientation.

women of color

What we know about the social and cultural impact on Black women’s lives is that HIV-related stigma and denial regarding how the disease is spread, particularly among self-identified heterosexuals who are positive, and stigmatization about the disease remains an enormous barrier to effectively fighting the epidemic.”

praying Latina woman

Given these grim statistics, this pressing public health issue challenges each of us to be “our sisters’ keepers.” This World AIDS Day, you can choose to make a difference in the lives of others. Toward that end, take action in the fight against HIV and raise awareness of its impact on women and girls. Get tested. Encourage every female within your sphere of influence to be tested for HIV/AIDS. Additionally, you can plan or support HIV prevention efforts in your community.

The fight against HIV and AIDS is a fight we can one day win. We must work together to end this insidious epidemic and eradicate this disease. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, each of us can educate members of our community about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the importance of knowing your HIV status. For further information about HIV/AIDS, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website at http://www.cdc.gov.

Source(s): MSN. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2009.; Evaluate website. Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI). MSNBC.com, “Few Americans With HIV Have Virus Under Control”, November 29, 2011.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

Scared Girl

Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well kept secret. National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is held in the month of November.  This year, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 12, 2016 through November 20, 2016.

The overarching objective of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is to educate communities nationwide that hunger exists throughout the year not just during the holiday season. Food security is necessary to lead a productive, healthy, and active life. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food.

children walking to school

For families in need, the summer months present special challenges because they rely on the free and/or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs to provide essential meals for their children during the school-year. These feeding programs are either not available during the summer months or offered only at select school locations making it challenging if not  impossible for many families in need to access. With that said, it is important for us to remember to make donations to local community food banks on a routine basis because every month of the year countless families often turn to these institutions to help feed their families particularly in these very difficult economic times.

Child Post

Approximately, one in four children in America is food insecure. As is aptly stated in the materials by Share Our Strength i “No Hungry Kid”, “…their bodies may not be rail thin, nor their bellies bloated like their counterparts in other countries, but they’re at risk of hunger all the same. They lack the energy to learn, grow, and thrive.” It is a well known fact that proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of healthy children.

Statistics on Childhood Hunger in the United States:

  • According  to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii
  • 20%  or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households.  The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.(Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii
  • In 2009, households that had  higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included  households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with  children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).v

Early Learning

These heartbreaking facts about the prevalence and the face of hunger in America have drawn the attention of many people including but not limited to Oscar winning actor, Jeff Bridges. Jeff Bridges is serving as the national spokesperson for the “No Kid Hungry Campaign”. To ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve success, we must first ensure that their most basic needs are met.

To get involved in an anti-child hunger campaign or to gain further information on the prevalence of childhood hunger in America, visit www.share.org, http://www.feedamerica.org, and http://www.nokidhungry.org.

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week brings people together from across the country to educate and promote change for some of the country’s most dire issues. You can be a part of this movement and help your community become a part of the solution. Planning your events is the first step to making hunger and homelessness a thing of the past. http://www.nationalhomeless.org

Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Feeding America (online); Rhoda Cohen,  J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010; Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; www.share.org; www.feedamerica.org; www.nokidhungry.org; and Food Research and Action Center.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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iIn 1984, Share Our Strength, was started by the brother and sister team of Bill and Debbie Shore started the organization with the belief that everyone has strength to share in the global fight against hunger and poverty, and that in these shared strengths lie sustainable solutions.

iiRhoda Cohen,  J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.

iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.

iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.

vNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.

Happy Thanksgiving?

It will soon be Thanksgiving and in the American tradition, many will prepare a celebration to express their gratitude to God for all the blessings in their lives. Most celebrate with a turkey dinner.  It is a longstanding tradition.

Many throughout our nation are facing another Thanksgiving holiday that will not include the traditional meal with all the trimmings.  Economic times are very difficult for countless families and food budgets, for many, are stretched to their limit.

You can make it a better holiday for a family in your community.  Donate to your local community food bank and you will help make Thanksgiving a joyous day for many of your neighbors in need. After all, it’s an American tradition.  Make a difference; change a life.

A Family

Additionally, tell your members of Congress to protect programs that give hope and opportunity to people experiencing hunger and poverty. Reducing our nation’s long-term debt is critical, but hungry and poor people didn’t cause the problem, and cutting programs that help them won’t significantly reduce our debt. But cutting these programs will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable members of our society.

msp child

Please join me in urging Congress to keep our nation’s commitment to those referred to in the Bible as “the least of these.” Please join me in sending an email to our members of Congress today and remind them that they are in office to care for all of their constituents both rich and poor.

Source(s): The National Association of Working Women

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Give Hope to Victims of Domestic Violence

woman with cellphone

Give hope to victims of domestic violence by donating your old cell telephone to the HopeLine Camapaign operated by Verizon Wireless. Verizon collects no-longer-used cell phones, batteries, and accessories and either refurbishes or recycles the phones. The refurbished cell phones along with three thousand (3,000) minutes of wireless service are provided to victims of domestic violence free of charge.

Cell Phones

For many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Research indicates that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.[i] Indigent women are more vulnerable. As woman rebuild their lives, the refurbished cell phones serve as a link to supportive services in a time of crisis.

The pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. Consider donating your used cell phone— you could possibly save someone’s life. In honor of Earth Day 2016, you should consider donating your used cell telephone, battery, and/or charger.

cancer awareness

Verizon Wireless states that “donating an old wireless phone to HopeLine® from Verizon is as easy as following these four steps:
1. Turn the phone’s power off.
2. Make sure the phone’s batteries are installed in the phone you are returning. Please do not include any loose batteries.
3. Please remove storage cards (microSD, etc.) and SIM cards from phones prior to donation. Also be sure to return any travel chargers or other accessories that came with the devices.
4. Seal the package and adhere the free postage-paid label to the box/envelope and drop it in the mail. To view and print the mailing label, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
5.Don’t forget to include your return address on the shipping label. “

“Verizon Wireless takes the protection of customer information seriously. The company encourages everyone who plans to give a phone to HopeLine to erase any personal data on the phone before donating it. If in doubt on what to remove from your phone, leave it to the professionals. As part of the refurbishing process, HopeLine scrubs the phones prior to distributing them for re-use to ensure all customer information is removed.”

sad woman

Please note:

  • Donated phones are not tax deductible.
  • This shipping label is only intended for use by consumers who are donating their wireless phones to HopeLine. Customers who are not donating their phones but wish to return their wireless phones should contact Customer Service or visit their local Verizon Wireless Communications Store.

For information about Verizon’s cell phone donation process visit: http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html.

Source(s): Verizon

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

[i] Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy, National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1993, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000)

The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

children walking to school

The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). With that being said, this month, this blog will discuss: the dynamics of domestic, information and resources for survivors of abuse, the impact of abuse on children, among other topics related to this pressing public health issue.

Child witnesses to domestic violence often have life-long effects. Please read the data below regarding chid witnesses to domestic violence.

DATA:
• Between 3.3 million and 25 million children experience domestic violence in their homes each year.
• The average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years old. 50 percent of homeless women and children are
fleeing abuse in the home.
• Children who live in homes where their mothers are battered are 50% more likely to be beaten themselves. Research indicates that 50 to 70 percent of men who physically abuse their wives also frequently abuse their children.
• In one study, 27% of domestic homicide victims were children. When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age 10; 56% are under age 2. Children from homes where their mothers is beaten suffer eating and sleeping disorders, have headaches, ulcers, rashes, depression, and anxiety caused by the trauma of witnessing abuse.
• They have a higher risk of abusing substances and becoming juvenile delinquents.
• Eighty percent of teen runaways and homeless youth come from violent homes.

smiling child close-up
•Girls from homes with domestic violence are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
•A boy from a home where his mother is battered is 74% more likely to commit violence, including rape.
•Boys who grow up in non-violent homes have one chance in 400 of becoming abusive adults, but boys who grow up in violent homes have one chance in two of becoming abusive adults.
•Sixty-three percent of boys ages 11-20 arrested for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.

cute little boy with apple

How are children affected by domestic violence?
• They exhibit “failure to thrive” symptoms, even as infants.
• They may exhibit “general aggressiveness” or violence to siblings or the
“victim parent” in ways that emulate the abusive parent.
• They may exhibit a pattern of “over-compliance” and fearfulness.
• They often suffer from low self-esteem.
• They often suffer poor health.
• They may have poor impulse control.
• They often experience academic problems.
• They live frequently ”disrupted lives” when the victim is forced to flee the home.
• They, along with their mothers, comprise nearly 40% of the homeless population in the U.S.
• They are sometimes injured during violent incidents in the home or the family
vehicle.

praying little boy
• They are more often abducted by the abuser parent than other children.
• They may have a fear and distrust of close relationships.
• They may become conflicted in taking sides with parents.
• They experience confusion over correct behavior.
• They experience psychosomatic complaints, i.e., stomachaches, headaches, stuttering, anxiety, fear, etc.
• They experience “night terrors” (waking up screaming in the night).
• They may wet the bed.
• They kill themselves more often than children who do not live with abuse.
• They are likely to repeat learned behaviors.
• They blame themselves for the violence or the inability to stop it and protect the victim parent.
•They often experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

Boy Drinking Milk
• They are more likely to be victim of child physical and sexual abuse, most often by the abuser parent and less often by the victim.
• They are four times as likely to be arrested eventually.
• They are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
• They are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior.
• They are more likely to commit crime against other persons and sexual assaults.

Sources: http://www.pcadv.org. http://www.stopvaw.org. http://www.aaets.org. http://www.unicef.org. http://www.childwelfare.gov.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Celebrate, Mourn, Connect & Act

serious woman face

 

Domestic violence poses a clear and present danger for countless persons. The pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. Each year, across the country, the month of October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).

Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity which was first observed in October, 1981 and spear-headed by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The intent of establishing the Day of Unity was to connect battered women’s advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children.

Soon, the Day of Unity became a week-long event where a range of activities were held at the local, state, and national levels. The activities conducted had common themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived, and connecting those who work to end violence.

Domestic violence can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, each of us should commit ourselves to halting violence within our homes, our communities, and our nation.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art