It felt like a great ray of hope when on Saturday evening, Feb. 2nd, over 170 people showed up to discuss hunger, extreme poverty, and acronyms.
Seriously, how often do people say, "let's not go to a movie tonight, let's pay $5 each to examine US progress toward achieving the MDGs at a forum sponsored by the PSMGP?" (Right!) Well, does it explain the large turnout to spell out 'Millennium Development Goals?' (Yawn.) or 'Puget Sound Millennium Goals Project.' (Duh.)
The PSMGP planning committee of a half dozen people was keen on getting the public and our political leaders to engage a new report on lagging U.S. support for the MDGs by InterAction (the nation's major coalition of more than 160 aid and development organizations). www.interaction.org
But how do you encourage people to come? We'd gotten only a handful of organizational representatives to join us in previous public meetings held monthly to try to build a regional network of groups working on these issues.
So we arranged a panel including Samuel Worthington, president of InterAction from DC (distinguished but little known), Global Poverty Act sponsor Rep. Adam Smith (who two weeks earlier wrote an op ed defending current Iraq War strategy), and Craig Nakagawa, a business entrepreneur turned head of a regional development group (who praised market forces and disparaged "do gooders"). Regional talk radio personality, Dave Ross served as moderator.
The panel discussion and a further hour of comments and questions from the floor was of an unusually high quality. (We hope to post excerpts soon.) The energy and commitment evident in the forum and in conversations around our resource table felt like a ray of hope. Reduce poverty by one half? We can do this!
For help with a forum or offering of letters on hunger, please contact LPF. For more information on the MDGs see LPF's discussion resource "ONE by ONE" and other hunger and development discussion resources, advocacy updates, web links, etc.