Ending hunger in our time

A statewide Bread for the World conference Saturday aims not just to mitigate the effects of hunger, but to end it at home and abroad. The organization’s local chapters are organizing the event around a theme of “Advocacy to End Hunger in Our Time.”

“Do the right thing by poor people” is Bread for the World’s call to action. The anti-poverty advocacy organization is known for its letter-writing campaigns to legislators concerning hunger. According to conference organizer Fran Quigley, Bread taps into the muscle Americans have as citizens of the last remaining superpower, which also happens to be a democracy.

“The people we’re advocating for generally don’t have the capacity to raise their voices,” he says.

Bread is a Christian movement, but it is open to all, according to Quigley. The five Indianapolis chapters attest to the diversity of the organization: Two are at retirement facilities, one meets at Bazbeaux Pizza and two are affiliated with religious bodies.

The important thing, according to Bread founder the Rev. Art Simon of Hyattsville, Md., is the effort to influence the nation’s decision-makers. Simon, who will give the keynote address Saturday, says many Christians provide voluntary and monetary assistance for hunger relief but stop short of speaking out. “We can contribute to efforts against hunger in church,” he points out, “but by our silence on public policy we may be locking people more deeply into hunger.”

Quigley concurs, “We live in the world of plenty, where our country is the most powerful and wealthy nation on Earth, and as citizens we realize that the government acts on our collective will to address hunger. Raising our voice is even more important than writing a check to charity.”

It’s been about 15 years since Indy last hosted a Bread conference, he says, and the time is right. New chapters are springing up, and Indianapolis’ Dave Miner, a recent Lilly retiree, was named chairman of the national board of directors last year. “He’s always been a tireless advocate for the hungry,” Quigley says.

Miner will present a report on a recent study about effective congressional advocacy, with staff from the offices of Sen. Evan Bayh and Rep. Dan Burton responding. A panel of local news editors will discuss strategies for getting Bread’s message across in the media.

Three Hoosiers working on anti-poverty initiatives in Africa will present their efforts. Quigley, who currently works with the IU-Kenya Partnership, will join Woody Collins of Congo Helping Hands and Dr. Mercy Obeime of the Mercy Foundation on this panel. “What I think will be useful is that all three of us have a hand in direct relief efforts,” Quigley says, “but at the same time we see advocacy as a really important part of what we do.”

The bottom line? “A child is dying of hunger every five seconds somewhere in the world,” he says. “Every moral code, every spiritual guideline, every creed I’ve ever heard of demands we take action.”

The conference takes place March 29, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at North United Methodist Church. Registration/more information: www.breadindiana.org.

Go. See. Do.

Friday, March 28

Cesar Chavez Day

Indiana State Museum

A celebration of the life, work and legacy of the civil rights leader who founded the United Farmworkers Union March 28, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. For more information, contact Ricardo Parra at ricardonotes@sbcglobal.net.

Saturday, March 29

Demonstration for Peace

Monument Circle

A student-initiated peace rally marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the war on Iraq takes place March 29, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The event is sponsored by a variety of campus student peace groups, the Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center and Veterans for Peace, Indiana Chapter. Congressman Andre Carson and former Congressman Andy Jacobs are confirmed to speak. Several bands, including Chronicle and City Squirrels, will perform as part of the event. For more information, contact Jim Wolfe at jaswolfe@iupui.edu.

Saturday, March 29

“Cool Down Global Warming”

Skating party at the Pepsi Coliseum

NUVO presents a “Cool Down for Global Warming” skating party March 29 at the Pepsi Coliseum, 7:30-9:30 p.m. A benefit for the Hoosier Environmental Council, admission is $4 plus skate rental if needed (see the ad in this issue for free skate rental!). HEC is the largest grass-roots advocacy group dedicated to improving the quality of the environment for Indiana residents; donations will gladly be accepted to help HEC continue its efforts. For more information go to www.hec-web.org or www.in.gov/statefair/fairgrounds/skating.

Saturday, March 29

The Independents

Punk Rock the Vote

The Underground

The Harrison Center’s all-ages venue, The Underground, is the chosen site for the next Rock the Vote event. Punk heroes The Independents are scheduled to perform, as are local heroes and Punk Rock Night award winners Up! Scumbag, along with Highway Magic and art-punk superstars Prizzy Prizzy Please. NUVO will have volunteers available at this event to answer questions and help 17- and 18-year-olds register to vote in the forthcoming election cycle. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the cover is $7. The Underground is located beneath the Harrison Center for the Arts at 1505 N. Delaware St. Rock the Vote was founded nearly 20 years ago in response to a wave of attacks on freedom of speech. It coordinates voter registration drives, get-out-the-vote events and voter education efforts with the intention of building political power for our nation’s youth. For more information, go to www.harrisoncenter.org.

Wednesday, April 2

Mass Transit in Indianapolis

ACLU First Wednesday Discussion Series

Indiana Historical Society

“Buses, Trains, and Monorails: Can mass transit make it in Indianapolis?” That’s the question being posed at this month’s ACLU lunchtime discussion series. Join moderator Matt Tully and a panel of local experts (including NUVO’s David Hoppe) for a discussion on the possibilities and problems of mass transit in our city. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.aclu-in.org.

Wednesday, April 2

Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington

Documentary screening

IUPUI campus

The Democracy Matters student group at IUPUI welcomes Jonathan Schneider, a filmmaker and activist, for a film screening and discussion of his documentary Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington. The film sets out to demonstrate how current practices in Washington between big business lobbyists and politicians are leaving Americans without much political influence. The event will take place in the new IUPUI Campus Center, corner of Michigan Street and University Boulevard, room 309. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on the film, go to www.MrSchneiderGoesToWashington.com. For more information on the screening, contact Caridad Ax at cax@iupui.edu.

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