"Selfishness destroys freedom" General McChrystal (ret.)
July 11, 2012
Today, Chrysula Winegar is joining the Shot@Life Team in Salt Lake City, Utah for a panel discussion and luncheon on the global effort to reduce measles-related deaths. She is joined by the Honorable Robert F. Bennett, Former United States Senator; Fred Riley, Manager, Special Projects for LDS Humanitarians Services; and, Aaron Sherinian, Vice President of Communications and Public Relations, United Nations Foundation. Below are Chrysula's remarks for today's panel and discussion. Please join @shotatlife on Twitter today from 12-2 pm MST to join in the discussion!
I have lived in 5 countries, and 10 cities, as well as traveled to at least a dozen other nations. And I say with joy and pride, that Americans are the most generous people on earth! Our actions and the dollars that come from our hearts have ripple effects around the world.
In a recent OpEd in the New York Times, Nick Kristof, New York Times columnist and author or Half the Sky, wrote about the slowdown in the coffin making business that he noticed on his most recent trip to Africa. It's a new economic indicator of sorts -- quite a visceral way to show the realities of improving mortality rates in the developing world. The fact that now 80 percent of the world's children have access to the life-saving vaccines they need, is part of the down turn in that industry.
But 20 percent of children don't get those vaccines. It is comparable to skipping the fifth child. My husband and I have four children and 23 nieces and nephews. So that would mean in our extended family that more than five of our combined kids would miss out. And when illness rips through, their chances of survival would be compromised.
Diarrhea kills. Measles kill. Pneumonia kills. Polio maims for life. Four diseases that need to be stopped in their tracks, that we have tested, proven solutions for in most cases.
I am grateful to see every day parents joining this cause. Mothers and fathers who deeply understand, in the act of having children, that the mother and father across the world, despite poverty and different cultural traditions, love their child just as deeply as you do.
I am a Shot@Life Champion because I know what these diseases look like. I am a Shot@Life Champion because I am compelled, indeed called, to assist in any small way I can, the plight of the still nearly 2 million children who die each year from vaccine preventable diseases. I am a Shot@Life Champion because we have an incredible historical window, right now, to shut these diseases down. To close the door on their path of destruction. Will you be a bystander on the edge of history?
Over email, I have developed a friendship with a woman named Audrey in Tanzania. Audrey almost died having both of her children. She is educated, she's an accountant and she lives in the city. Audrey wants to take care of things herself. She does not want to be dependent on international aid programs. She wants her country to change and be able to take care of its own. Tanzania has made great strides. Last year in New York, at the Social Good Summit, Tanzanian president Kikwete said "as long as children are dying and mothers are grieving there will be no peace". The people of Tanzania are working so hard and accomplishing much. And we are helping! YOU are helping. Audrey and the millions of mothers like her who are trying to save their children, are our sisters, not nameless victims.
There are no borders on humanity! Loving the child next door and loving the child across the world are not mutually exclusive categories on some spectrum. We are the United States of America, and we have a mandate from our founders to do both! This great nation has made freedom our calling card. With it comes an enormous responsibility to give. May America always be so inclined! It is the true mark of our identity as not only citizens of the United States, but citizens of the world.
$5 can't buy you much these days, but it can protect a child from polio and measles for his lifetime. Give a child a shot at a healthy life today!
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