New film to help students take action on global water crisis

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

We take it for granted when we turn on the faucet and clean drinking water  appears and is plentiful.  Yet, throughout the world more than 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water.  The Thirst Project, an proactive student organization hitting the clean water problem head on, says  80 percent of global diseases are water-borne and result from drinking contaminated water.  These diseases kill more than 2.2 million people per year.

In a new movie, “Earth to Echo,” the stars of the film receive “distress signals” on their phones from someone who needs their help.

Students can join The Thirst Project and “Earth to Echo” to take action against the global water crisis without having to give, donate, or raise any of their own money. All you have to do is TEXT the keyword ECHO (in all caps) followed by your message for hope and encouragement to someone in a developing community without safe, clean drinking water to 51555. For every message we receive, the movie “Earth to Echo” will donate to The Thirst Project to build wells to give clean water to those who need it most. Not only that, but we will capture the actual messages we receive and install them on murals on the wells funded by this campaign. Then, go see the movie “Earth to Echo” in theaters everywhere July 2014. Visit www.ThirstProject.org/EarthToEcho to learn how you can get involved today!

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2011 Sundance film launches movement for equality

The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiatives inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their potential.

For more information visit therepresentationproject.org. 

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Mississippi single mothers poorest in the nation

Shae Hill holds her 3-month-old daughter inside a store May 7, 2009 in Glendora, Mississippi, a highly impoverished town in the rural Lower Mississippi Delta region. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation.  But its status is not without trying to walk away from this title.  Although social services and benefits have allowed the poorest of the poor to receive more food and health care, the ability for Mississippi’s poor to journey out of poverty has been a long and challenging battle.

The Mississippi poor consist of a large population of single mothers — who are working.  Many have graduated from high school but are unable to find a living wage in the small town and rural communities for which they live.

In an article by NPR’s WUBR, “Women and Children Most At Risk in Mississippi,” Carol Burnett, executive director of the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, discusses the situation in Mississippi, as well as underlying issues and myths.

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School-to-prison pipeline might start as early as preschool

By high school many minority students or students with disabilities could be on the school-to-prison pipeline. palantelatino.com photo

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

Are we giving up on a large population of our young people in this country?  With minority students and students with disabilities, including teens with emotional and behavioral problems, carrying the majority of school suspensions and high school dropout rates, could the path toward school-to-prison pipeline be condemning a new generation to failure?

When I worked as a reporter in Mississippi several years ago, the self-fulfilling prophecy for many minority students went as far back as preschool. One southern Mississippi school official told to me the state counted the amount of children not attending preschool programs as an indication of how many prison cells would be required for state correctional facilities 20 to 25 years later. Their justification to watch these numbers was due to the inaccessibility or cuts of preschool programs such as a Head Start, and the broad number of illiterate parents unable to teach the fundamentals early childhood skills to prepare their children to enter kindergarten.  As a result, many preschoolers might start out behind in school as early as five years-old.

By the time many of the minority or students with disabilities enter high school, there is an even bigger chance a student could be railed onto the school-to-prison pipeline.

In a comprehensive report by America Aljazeera, the saga of the school-to-prison pipeline is examined with alarming statistics.  Link here.

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Purdue shooting gives anti-gun advocate a first-hand experience

Purdue University students huddle in the hallways of classrooms after they received a text message to shelter-in-place because of shooting at the Engineering Building. Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Ind.

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

West Lafayette, Ind. — Today marks the 35th school shooting since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Conn., Dec.14, 2012. Around noon on Tuesday, Jan. 21, Purdue University students and staff were placed in shut down as a lone gunman entered a classroom in the university’s Engineering Building and shot a man to death.

One woman, Julia Chester, took this shooting very personally because it touched too close to home. She is the Regional Manager for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which is a nonpartisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding new and stronger solutions to gun laws and loopholes that might jeopardize the safety of U.S. children and families.

Chester is also Associate Professor of Psychological Studies at Purdue University.

In a statement released by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action, Chester said for over a year she has worked with hundreds of thousands of U.S. moms to help stem the “tide of gun violence in America.”

“Today, I experienced the terror of an active shooting first-hand,” said Chester. While in her office at Purdue University, she was alerted through the university’s text messaging system that there was a shooting on campus. Along with her colleagues and students, she was alerted to shelter-in-place.

Shelter-in-place is an emergency procedure now used in homes, offices and schools throughout the country.   U.S. Homeland Security gives tips on what an individual or individuals should do during such an emergency.

“The fear and confusion on campus was palpable. No matter how many drills you’ve been through, panic takes its toll on logic,” said Chester.  She says she feared no matter how many doors you try to shut between you and the shooter, a bullet could find its way through even though the shooting took place a couple of buildings away from her office.

“We owe our children and ourselves a world where we don’t have to live by lockdown,” Chester said.  She said Americans need to call on Congress immediately to act on gun violence and pass new and stronger gun laws.

Again, one man died in the university shooting.  One man is in custody.  No motive for the shooting has been released by local law enforcement officials. Purdue University officials said all classes were cancelled today and Wednesday.

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Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech a benchmark for peace and equality

Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to millions at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

In 1963 I was only five years-old, but I knew something extraordinary was happening in this country.  As I watched the television network news with my family, I saw the raw footage of riots in the South and fires in Detroit as this country fought for civil rights for all its citizens.  As a child, these images sometimes frightened me, but they also intrigued me.  I just couldn’t figure out what the fuss was all about.  I guess at five we are still color blind.  I don’t remember watching Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech on television, but I do remember the news of his speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was all over the newspaper headlines. Very soon after his speech, President Kennedy was shot and killed.  And in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  I was ten years-old in 1968 and was beginning to understand the chaos in this country concerning poverty and race, as well as the rising discourse concerning the Vietnam War.

Martin Luther King’s speech imprinted a broad change in this country that led its people toward King’s dream of quiet and peaceful protest, and even more important, equality.  Even though fighting for equality was not always peaceful, his speech and actions created a benchmark toward peaceful resolutions.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, please re-read his speech to understand his mark in U.S. history. We might  have come far as a  nation in the understanding of equality, but we need to remain relentless in redefining equality as it was is spoken so clearly in King’s speech in 1963.  Read Martin Luther King’s speech, “I have a dream,” by linking here.

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Shriver Report website brings issues of women to forefront

The Shriver Report is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary look at how American families live and work today, giving clear insight into one of the most important social trends of our time: the emergence of women into all areas of society.  To view this new website, link here.

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Research says without government benefits U.S.’s poverty line would be twice as high

realtruth.org photo

The war on poverty declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago might at first look like a failure while 15 percent of Americans in 2013 are living below the poverty line.  But without the armor of government benefits, a Columbia University study states America’s poverty line could have been as high as 31 percent.

New York Times:  In the War on Poverty, a Dogged Adversary

By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

“… Without the panoply of government benefits — like food stamps, subsidized school lunches and the earned-income tax credit, which provides extra money to household heads earning low wages — the nation’s poverty rate last year would have reached almost 31 percent, up from 25 percent in 1967, according to the research at Columbia …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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