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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

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Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Opinion | Turning Down Food Aid for Children Is Shockingly Callous - The New York Times

Turning Down Food Aid for Millions of Children Reflects Shocking Political Callousness

James Estrin/The New York Times

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Last week I read something that shocked me, even if it really shouldn’t have: Fifteen states — all but one run by Republican governors — skipped the deadline to apply for a new federally-funded program that will provide $120 per child for groceries during the summer months to families of children who already qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school.

Some of those states have some of the highest poverty rates in the country, including Mississippi, with the highest rate, and Louisiana, where I grew up, with the second highest. When Louisiana rejected the lunch program, a Democrat was still the governor; on Jan. 8, a Republican took over.

According to KFF, a nonprofit organization focused on health policy, seven of those states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming — are among those that have not fully extended Medicaid to the poor under the Affordable Care Act. Imagine withholding funding for food that would keep children healthy, while denying people medical care when they get sick.

The cruelty of it is almost incomprehensible, but I’m convinced that this is all part of the punitive posture of so many of today’s Republicans — which in this case is meant to punish poverty, to intensify hardships: their version of an economic “scared straight” program.

I was a child who benefited from a summer lunch program. In fact, I didn’t know of a child who went to my school who didn’t eat free or reduced-price lunches during the school year or participate in the free summer lunch program.

Most of the families I knew seemed to be in poverty or skating just above it, which was the case with my family, as my mother supported a household of six on a paltry teacher’s salary.

Constantly trying to better our lives and hers, she took evening and summer classes to earn certifications and an advanced degree — and that was when she wasn’t teaching night G.E.D. classes or summer school.

So, the free summer lunch program available to us was helpful to her. But it didn’t lift the burden completely. Summer lunch programs were for just that: lunch. They didn’t provide breakfast, which only some families could provide during the school year. My family could afford that expense. I doubt that every other family could.

Last month, Gov. Jim Pillen of Nebraska said his state would reject the new grocery aid funds in favor of the federal Summer Food Service Program and that his state was going to “take care of every one of these kids through the summer, feeding them,” but: “We just want to make sure that they’re out. They’re at church camps. They’re at schools. They’re at 4-H. And we’ll take care of them at all of the places that they’re at, so that they’re out amongst (other people) and not feeding a welfare system with food at home.”

In a small town like the one where I grew up, there were no summer enrichment programs. We had to keep ourselves busy as parents went off to work, most in neighboring communities.

In that way, the school cafeteria where summer lunch was served was more than just a place that served meals. It was also a congregational place where kids could socialize with other kids, where we could fight off loneliness and isolation.

After we’d eaten our lunches, we would disperse to play — girls teaching one another the latest dances, boys playing sandlot basketball — until sunset called us home and parents provided dinner.

Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, announcing in December that her state would reject the new funds, said, “An E.B.T. card does nothing to promote nutrition at a time when childhood obesity has become an epidemic.”

But it has been my experience that when people don’t have the money for healthy groceries, they’ll scrounge up just enough money for junk — anything filling — because hunger is a vicious beast from whom all want to steer clear.

My mother often told us about catching a ride every day to college, which for her was about 20 miles away. And because she couldn’t afford lunch like most other students, she would pack a honey bun. It wasn’t nutritious, but the high sugar content would make her feel full.

These are the choices poor people make, and giving them the greatest amount of flexibility to make choices for their families is not only smart policy, it also extends a modicum of respect.

But respect for the poor is anathema to some people.

And the decisions of these 15 states comes at a time when lower-income families are truly feeling the pinch.

During the Covid pandemic, many families received additional food aid, which was tremendously helpful. But now that it has been cut back, one 2023 report found, four in 10 families who had received that extra benefit are skipping meals. And what may seem to some like a minor scaling-back can have devastating consequences for a family.

The governors, mostly Republican, putting philosophy over food are displaying astonishing political callousness.

Charles M. Blow is an Opinion columnist for The New York Times, writing about national politics, public opinion and social justice, with a focus on racial equality and L.G.B.T.Q. rights. @CharlesMBlow  Facebook"

Opinion | Turning Down Food Aid for Children Is Shockingly Callous - The New York Times

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