About two weeks ago, some friends and I gathered on the campus of Hofstra University for a march coordinated by Every Child Matters. They are trying to get the voices of children heard during tonight's Presidential Debate.
Just a few short miles from my home is Hofstra University, the location of the 2012 Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. I'm pretty excited about this even though I won't be in the audience of such an historical campaign debate.
This is in no way is a political blog although my life is surrounded by politics being married to a politician and all. One of the very few good ones, I may add. I'd vote for him any day. You should too. But he's not running so don't look for his name on the ballot.
I've been fortunate enough to visit the White House three times during the last four years and each time was just as significant as the last. The first time was on a whim where a friend of my husband's got us in within 24 hours for an evening private tour during a firm business trip. Never mind that my son kept kicking his shoes off. In the White House. The second time was with the Mocha Moms, Inc. for a Mom's Briefing for our national organization. Now that was an emotional trip. The final time was just a few months ago for an African American Women's Forum where a select group of women from various organizations across the country gathered to discuss health, education, economics, and more. I was a blogger/rep from Mocha Moms, Inc. We were honored with the presence of First Lady Michelle Obama and White House Advisor to the President, and Mentor, Valerie Jarrett.
I sat right behind Jarrett, the U.S. Surgeon General, and several other female dignitaries who are running this great nation. Now that was pretty darn cool. Girl Power! The power from these women was felt in the air. And then Michelle Obama walked in. The crowd went wild, but I remained cool. On the outside anyway.
I have never been as involved in politics as much as I have been over the last four years. I was pregnant during the last campaign/election, and buying, selling, and setting up house with a toddler and newborn was my priority. Yes, I voted but couldn't help campaign. The one day my husband set aside to help campaign, I became engorged with breast milk after being away from my 4.5 month old son all day and developed a 104 fever. That was not fun at all. I was pretty sick and my husband had to cancel his campaign plans. I felt bad. But I was sick and grateful that he stayed home with me and the kids.
Ever since the Inauguration my husband and I attended nearly freezing our toes off in January 2009, I have become more aware of the following through my personal visits to the White House:
America's kids are overweight (and why)
A healthy lifestyle is the best form of Health Care
How important it is to become involved in my community
40% of Latino children are obese
African American girls ages 2 - 5 have the highest rate of obesity
Healthcare.gov helps people figure out what type of coverage they are eligible for
Physical education can improve academics
Medicaid is used by the middle class with 64% of its recipients are kids with disabilities (regardless of economic status)
Medicaid is also used by families who have children who are Autistic
One 1/2 of every woman is on Medicaid
90% of education dollars come from the STATE (this was a big one for me)
As a mom, I am now more aware of ways to guide my children towards a healthy lifestyle. My husband and I are heavily involved in our children's education as you are, I'm sure. We are encouraging a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically, by keeping them active, supplementing their education with additional enrichment from programs offered at local colleges, etc.
I am not upset at the government because my child isn't learning. That's my responsibility to supplement their education. It is my responsibility to attend the PTA meetings to voice any concerns that I may have about the curriculum. Isn't it? I am not upset with the government for mandating that my child receives 3 baked chicken nuggets instead of 4 like last year. If I don't like the menu, I send in a packed lunch. It is my responsibility to make sure my children eat a balanced meal every day. Isn't it?
I am giving back to my community by reaching back and helping your girls stay on the path to education by starting the Sparkle Empowerment Program for Girls and supporting other community organizations. Isn't that too my responsibility? I am a child's advocate in many ways.
There are many other topics not covered in this email, but I have covered many of them that meet the purpose of this blog and those that are dear to me. If I haven't mentioned a specific topic, it doesn't mean that I don't care. It just means that I have to go and pick up my son from school soon.
I sincerely hope tonight that the debate mentions both women and children at least 2 times.
What are you hoping to hear during tonight's debate?