First Lady Michelle Obama kicks off Momsrising.org’s ‘Food Power’ Conference with video appeal to fight childhood obesityMarch 12, 2013 // 0 Comments
— Grassroots group kicks off National Nutrition Month with screening of
award-winning film “Soul Food Junkies” —
New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — MomsRising.org answered First Lady
Michelle Obama’s call for parents to get involved in the fight against
childhood obesity. The grassroots organization kicked off National
Nutrition Month with a “Food Power” conference and film screening to
promote healthy eating habits and urge participants to support the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recently released guidelines on school
A video welcome from the First Lady motivated moms, dads, bloggers, and
community activists gathered in Brooklyn, NY. “I’m so thrilled to have
MomsRising.org and all of your grassroots muscle and passion working right
by our side because as we’ve seen again and again through ‘Let’s Move,’
people like you play a vitally important role in helping our kids eat
healthier and get the physical activity they need,” Obama said. “If you
all are not leading the way in your community then who will?”
African American children suffer disproportionately from obesity. A 2010
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report revealed that African
American women were 70% more likely to be obese than Non-Hispanic White
women and African American girls were 80% more likely to be overweight
than Non-Hispanic White girls. This crisis prompted MomsRising.org, an
online and on-the-ground grassroots organization with more than 1.1
million members, to team up with filmmaker Byron Hurt to screen his award
winning documentary “Soul Food Junkies” at the “Food Power” gatherings.
“We’re very excited to be working on the same path that Mrs. Obama and
Byron Hurt are to improve children’s health,” said MomsRising.org
executive director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. “Childhood obesity has
reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. and we all need to work together
to reverse this dangerous and deadly trend.”
“Soul Food Junkies” (www.itvs.org/films/soul-food-junkies) offers a
sometimes humorous exploration of the Black community’s affinity for foods
like fried chicken, fat-flavored collard greens, and fried pork chops,
despite the fact that these foods increase risks for diabetes, high blood
pressure, stokes, heart disease and obesity. Inspired by the premature
death of his father, Hurt traces the origins of soul food back to slavery
and encourages healthier approaches to soul food preparation. The film
features appearances from activist/comedian, Dick Gregory; poet, Sonia
Sanchez; writer, Michaela Angela Davis; and commentator Marc Lamont Hill.
In addition to the film screening, several parents shared personal stories
about their battle to get their families to eat healthier meals. A panel
of experts discussed practical ways to defeat the epidemic of childhood
obesity. As MomsRising.org is focused on taking action, the break-out
sessions provided attendees with a choice of three campaigns to sign-on
to: How to get junk food out of school, how to stop junk food marketing to
children, and breastfeeding, health care and preventing childhood obesity.
MomsRising.org campaign director, Monifa Bandele, speaks to media to
promote healthier school meals during the MomsRising.org “Food Power”
conference in NY.
“Each of our workshops focused on action and provided participants with
the tools to get engaged,” said Monifa Bandele, campaign manager,
MomsRising.org. “The attendees left the ‘Food Power’ conference with
marching orders to heed First Lady Michelle Obama’s call for the community
Speakers at the Brooklyn launch event included Karen Showalter,
MomsRising.org; Dr. Aletha Maybank, NYC Dept. of Public Health; dream
hampton, MomsRising.org; Migdalia Rivera, LatinaOnAMission.com; Tanya
Fields, Brown Girl Swagger; Lorraine Gonzalez, Children’s Defense Fund;
Jessica Donze Black, Kids Safe and Healthful Foods; and Joy Spencer,
Center for Digital Democracy, among others.
MomsRising.org is challenging childhood obesity through improving school
meals. The issue of nutrition and the role of schools foods in
contributing to childhood obesity are gaining currency. The USDA recently
opened up a 60-day comment period on its updated national nutrition
standards for foods and beverages sold through vending machines and a la
The recent “Food Power” conference is just one of many planned events
around the country as MomsRising.org gathers support and gains awareness
for its cause. The next event – a film screening and panel discussion –
will take place in Detroit, MI at the Fellowship Chapel on Thursday, March
21, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00.The free event is open to the public.
MomsRising.org is an online and on-the-ground grassroots organization of
more than a million people who are working to achieve economic security
for all families in the United States. MomsRising is working for paid
family leave, flexible work options, affordable childcare, and for an end
to the wage and hiring discrimination that penalizes so many others.
MomsRising also advocates for health care for all, toxic-free
environments, and breastfeeding rights so that all children can have a
healthy start. Established in 2006, MomsRising and its members are
organizing and speaking out to improve public policy and to change the
national dialogue on issues that are critically important to America’s
families. In 2012, Forbes.com named MomsRising’s web site as one of the
Top 100 Websites For Women for the third year in a row. In 2013, Working
Mother magazine included MomsRising on its “Best of the Net” list.
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