Editorial: Cabrini students called to stand with the hungry

By Laura Hancq
April 12, 2011

Ambassador Tony Hall hasn’t eaten since March 28. What were you doing 15 days ago?

Sophomores at Cabrini were registering for classes and the Phillies were still in Florida for spring training. Could you imagine not eating a single thing since then? This man has made this drastic decision for one important reason: budget cuts.

The Cabrini community was granted the opportunity to meet and listen to Ambassador Tony Hall on April 11. From his speech, the Loquitur staff gained a new understanding of the proposed budget cuts and the implications for domestic and foreign aid.

The United States is at a crucial economic moment because of the recession and the soaring gas and food prices. Obviously, cuts are going to be needed in order to reduce our spending and cover our deficits. Do you know how the budget cuts might affect you? Should you care if it affects others you don’t personally know?

According to Hall, the budget cuts made last Friday for the 2011 budget would cut $38 billion, a disproportionate amount from “insignificant people.” Hall refers to these people as “insignificant” because they are the voiceless members of society, otherwise known as those who are impoverished.

Hall believes that cuts are obviously necessary, but why must we cut disproportionately from those who are already suffering? Hall believes that every part of the budget should be examined, including the military and social security, but we should take special care for those who can least help themselves.

To get his point across, Hall has been on a liquid-only hunger strike since March 28. At first many of the Loquitur staff thought a hunger strike seemed like an irrelevant and confusing idea.

However, after listening to Hall, we came to the conclusion that a fast can be an intimate religious experience as well as an act of solidarity to connect with those suffering around the world.

As Cabrini students, we feel a special connection with Hall’s effort because throughout her lifetime, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini urged people to be with the poor in solidarity. The Cabrinian missions and sisters across the world live and work with the poor to alleviate suffering and improve quality of life.

Through our Justice Matters curriculum and ECG courses, we know that we have a responsibility to care because we live in an interconnected world and are all global citizens. When one person or one country hurts, we are all affected.

Hall believes that it is crucial for the United States to not cut our funding because we set the example for the rest of the world. He is striving to remind Americans who we are and what we are about.

Many will argue that because of the hard economic times, we need to focus on our own country first. As Dr. Erin McLaughlin, associate professor of business said during the visit, if we would be completely outraged by a child starving to death in the United States, why does one dying in Swaziland or North Korea not outrage us? How far do we expand our circles?

The reality is that these cuts are not just going to negatively impact world aid, but also the 50 million people in the United States who live in food-insecure homes. There are 17 million hungry children in the United States and Hall projects that 70,000 people will lose their lives from these cuts.

The Loquitur supports Tony Hall in his belief that the United States needs to be fiscally and morally responsible and a budget is partially a moral issue. Why are we putting the deficits on the backs of the already poor and suffering when the recession was not their fault?

We encourage members of the Cabrini community to find out more information and join Ambassador Hall on his quest to end world hunger by going to www.hungerfast.org. While participating in a small fast may not change the world, it can open our hearts and minds and change the way we think, speak, act and vote.

The Loquitur stands by Hall’s motto of “Righteousness exalts a nation,” and we encourage the Cabrini community to follow the example of Mother Cabrini and Ambassador Hall by giving a voice to the voiceless.


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Laura Hancq

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