Last week, ONE champion and co-chair of the bipartisan House Hunger Caucus, Rep. Jim McGovern spoke at Becker College in Worcester, Mass., where he spoke candidly about the vital importance of US foreign assistance in fighting extreme poverty.
Rep. McGovern proudly wore his ONE band as he spoke about personally witnessing the impact that US foreign aid can make in the lives of children, having just returned from a recent visit to Ethiopia. Ethiopia received global attention for its famine in the 1980s, and is still vulnerable to food crises — but its government and people are working hard in partnership with international donors to achieve food security.
The Becker College ONE group also welcomed Dr. Katherine Lazuriaga, associate provost of global health and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Lazuriaga spoke on the importance of funding of medical supplies and research in the fight against disease and poverty in the developing world.
With wind in our sails, ONE members were also on the move in Salem, Mass., this week, engaging Sen. Scott Brown. Running into the senator at a local event, our fellow members thanked Sen. Brown for his continued support and help during the 2011 continuing resolution fight and for ensuring that important lifesaving programs and initiatives, including PEPFAR and GAVI escaped severe cuts.
These events followed a successful letter-writing campaign at Becker, which protested proposed cuts to international development aid in the 2011 continuing resolution before Congress. Becker College generated more than 450 letters to Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry asking them to restore the devastating cuts to global health and other development programs in the House bill. And they heard us! While direct food assistance did not fare as well in the final deal, global AIDS, agricultural and vaccine programs that ONE members campaigned for were fully restored.
We’re so proud of members of Congress like Rep. McGovern, and Sens. Brown and Kerry, who are working together across party lines to make great progress toward ensuring that people of all nations have enough to eat. And we want some more, please!
-Becky Corbett, ONE member, Massachusetts