Today, fast food workers across the United States are striking for higher pay. Paltry minimum wages mean that workers are paid as little as $7.25 an hour — not nearly enough to live off of, let alone raise a family. More than 13 percent of fast food workers rely on food stamps to make ends meet, and a disproportionate number of fast food employees are women of color. Willietta Dukes is one woman who will be striking today. She writes:
With much of England and half the U.S. on Kate Middleton Baby-Watch this week, I’m writing about motherhood in the Guardian. It’s great (and normal) that we’re all excited about a new (and royal!) baby. Babies are really cute, and all of them should enter the world into the arms of folks who are excited to welcome them. But our celebrity pregnancy obsession, coupled with our unrealistic and condescending view of motherhood (it’s THE HARDEST JOB IN THE WOOOOORLD!) make real political change difficult, and keep parents (mostly mothers) unsupported. A bit:
Does the private sector have a role improving health systems? According to some participants at this year’s Women Deliver conference on maternal health, absolutely.
The conference, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brought together thousands of health care providers, advocates, politicians, journalists, activists and human rights workers to discuss the challenges, victories and potential solutions in the maternal health field. One of those solutions: Private sector involvement.
It’s not a surprise that the internet situation here is less than perfect, and I’ve had days so packed that by the time I get back to the hotel I just want to pass out, but a few quick observations before I have to run off to another meeting:
Journalist Kathryn Joyce has a new book out called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption about (guess what) the Evangelical Christian adoption movement. It’s a fascinating read, enlightening even for those of us who thought they knew something about the problems with the adoption industry. I interviewed Kathryn for Buzzfeed; here’s a bit:
A high-school senior and her classmates speak up for accurate information and against a terrible abstinence-only speaker. An eight-year-old girl chases down a Tennessee state senator to get some answers. And an Oscar nominee shows she’s more than just an exceptionally talented young actress. Today, on Today in Badass Young Women.
An ad campaign by the NYC Human Resources Administration would like you to know that your kids hate you for being a teen mom. Or, more accurately, that your future kids will hate you if you become a teen mom, much like the kids of current teen moms hate them. Because Daddy left, and now he’s absent and stuck with child support, and Mommy’s alone and poor, and the kid will never make anything of herself, and why did you not just keep your legs together, Mom?
This entire story about a surrogate mother, Chrystal Kelley, pregnant with a fetus with severe abnormalities, is disturbing and heartbreaking. A low-income woman, desperate for money, agreed to be a surrogate for a wealthier family, something she had done before. Everyone was excited. Then, an ultrasound showed the fetus had several abnormalities — heart problems, organ problems. The parents, who had given birth to two premature babies before and knew the difficulties of raising children with health issues, wanted to terminate the pregnancy. Kelley did not.
By now you’ve probably all heard about the baby who was born with HIV in rural Mississippi, and now, at 2 1/2 years old, is HIV-free. The child was given an aggressive round of retrovirals upon birth — s/he was born prematurely to a mother who was HIV-positive but didn’t know it. The child was supposed to continue treatment, but the mother stopped coming to appointments, and the baby didn’t receive treatment for a year. Now, in a miraculous turn, the baby is HIV-free.
In 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, and people around the world mobilized to raise funds for recovery. Nearly three years later, much of Haiti is still in ruins. Part of the problem is that while there are many development groups on the ground, their works are disparate. Unemployment is high, and while there are enormous numbers of Haitians working to rebuild their communities, there isn’t a place for them to come together. JCI, an excellent community-based nonprofit, conducted a detailed needs assessment and is now working on building a community center in Haiti. The center will offer employment opportunities not just in its construction but in its ongoing mission to provide economic empowerment, child care and project development. It’s a great and important project. More details are below. And getting involved is simple. Sign up, shop online and make money for your giving fund.
An elementary school teacher told a story to me once. I was still struggling to learn English, so over the course of the year I asked her often to retell the story.
Years ago in Alabama, the wife of a young preacher received a delivery of red carnations from her husband. They were beautiful, but as she touched them, she noticed they were artificial. When her husband came home, she asked about the flowers. He said, “I wanted to give you something that you could always keep.”
My latest in the Guardian is about that “Rise of Post-Familialism” study that has everyone in a tizzy, panicking that Western nations are facing a baby-shortage and selfish, indulgent single people are ruining the world. I take the position that the very things the study and conservative commentators brand as “selfish” are actually just smart, and the logical responses to both social progress and continued constraint. It’s one of my favorite columns so far, so I hope you’ll read the whole thing. A bit of it:
But the moral case against individualism and choice doesn’t have legs. It’s a moral good when people have a wide array of choices and increased personal freedom – not just for the individual, but also for children, family and society. And the evidence backs that up.