Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thoughts on the Aquapocalypse

I am still organizing my thoughts about the chemical leak that has poisoned the water for more than 1 in 6 people living in the state of West Virginia. But I wanted to express at least a small part of my feelings here.

Since learning of the chemical leak and subsequent "Aquapocalypse", my emotions have ranged from rage to despair, and everywhere in between.  

The cost to our public health is staggering.  The impact on our environment is incalculable.

And yet, I am also beginning to feel a sense of hopefulness that is unexpected and hard to explain. 

I am encouraged by the hundreds and even thousands of people who are standing in solidarity to take action and ensure that this never happens again.  The sense of community and common purpose that is evident as neighbors assist neighbors overcome the challenges caused by this negligence.

People are connecting to one another and demanding change.  People are organizing. People are developing solutions.  People are working together to challenge the status quo.

I am beginning to see a glimmer of hope that this tragedy can be catalyst for transformation for our state.

I asked the following question on Facebook, but I want to ask it here so that it can serve as a call to action.

Are you ready to make West Virginia the best place in the country to raise a family? 

Seriously, are you ready?

The way I see it, there is no reason why our state can't be the best place to raise children.  We have great scenic beauty.  Our state is blessed with rich natural resources and some of the most intelligent, caring, creative, talented, hard working people in the world.

There is no reason why we can't develop innovative solutions that propel our state forward.

There is no reason why we can't create the strongest early childhood system and best schools in the country.

There is no reason why we can't improve our public health system so that our people are healthier and live longer, happier lives.

There is no reason why we can't have a robust and diverse economy that promotes shared prosperity for all.

There is no reason why we can't have clean drinking water, clean air, and the most pristine natural beauty.

There is no reason why our children shouldn't have the happiest childhoods supported by loving, nurturing families and communities.

There is no reason why West Virginia can't be the best place to raise a family.

But it will take more than prayers and hopes to make that vision a reality.  

It's going to take a whole lot of hard work. It's going to take a whole lot of people working together. It's going to take every one of us working together in small and large ways to make it happen.

But, you know what? We can do it. If we all work together, we can do it. 

We WILL do it.

Let's do it... together. 

Who is with me?


Illustration from "The Barefoot Guide to working with organizations and social change." See: http://www.barefootguide.org.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

2013 has been a year of ups and downs. Joys and tears. And yet, the promise of a Holy night is here, when people around the world gather in love and peace with the promise of redeeming love.

I am so thankful for the love of my family and friends. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for your love and support.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from our home to yours.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Highlights from the Our Children, Our Future Campaign 2013 Policy Symposium

This video provides just a glimpse of the most compelling testimony that I have ever heard at a Legislative Committee meeting.  I am so pleased to have been a part of it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Enough is Enough

I have been working on some poetry lately.  Beginning with some refrigerator poems earlier this summer and now writing some things down. I am enjoying the process of expressing myself through my writing.  

Here is my first draft of my latest creation in response to the House of Representatives callously cutting Food Stamps (SNAP) earlier this week.
Enough is Enough

Oh SNAP, You didn't?!
Bailouts for Wall Street?
Tax Cuts for Wealthy?
Sure, no problem.
But food for kids?
"Oh, Hell no!" you say.

Too big to fail?
No worries.  It's cool.
But if you're small, or old, or poor, 
or have the wrong color skin.
You're on your own.
Left out in the cold...  "No soup for you."

Hungry. Hurt. Homeless?
"You should have made better choices" 
That's what they say.
But speculate and gamble with your employees 401K?
Well, here's a golden parachute,
To help you on your way.

What's the answer?
Do we bow our heads and pray?
Sing a hymn. Wait for a better day?
F--- no! I say.
Let's fight the oppression.
Beginning today.

Enough is enough.
I've had it up to here.
You take food from a child?
Then you deserve to pay.
Let's fight the oppression.
Beginning today.
    -- Jim McKay, Sept. 2013