My good friend, Doug, commented recently on one of my postings regarding the ONE campaign. He makes a good point and I want to emphasize it here.
He said, "I really wish, though, that the US version of the "ONE" campaign also include a commitment to eliminating poverty -- particularly child poverty -- here in America also. Take a look at the Canadian version of the one campaign: http://www.makepovertyhistory.ca/en. Even here in Connecticut, approximately 11% of children are living in poverty (as defined by the Federal Poverty Threshold). In the wealthiest state of the wealthiest nation of the world, we CAN do better, but only if our elected officials hear the message loud and clear that we care about poverty, and that we recognize that it's a problem that plagues not only the developing world, but also families in our own communities."
This is an important reminder that poverty exists everywhere. It makes the news in Africa and other impoverished countries, but it is a real and present reality in the cities and towns of North America as well. In Canada, 15% of children live in poverty (check it out at the Canadian ONE site). According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in the U. S. in 2006 was 12.3%, representing some 36.5 million people. Equally troubling, 47 million Americans (15.8%) lived without health insurance in 2006.
Poverty is a global problem - not an African problem or an American problem, but a human problem. Poverty is a massive violation of human rights. Regardless of where the poverty exists, we have a moral duty to address the root causes and to find ways to improve the lives of those who go to bed hungry, who do not have adequate shelter or access to basic education, and who die from preventable diseases.