Being American on World Refugee Day

June 20 is World Refugee Day

If you are a patriotic American, as I am, you agree that America is a unique country who plays an important role as an example to the world for our democracy, free press and “melting pot” populace. All of these assets benefit from our long history of welcoming and integrating refugees. “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was commissioned in 1876 to commemorate the centennial of US Declaration of Independence and on the heels of the Union prevailing in the Civil War- the statue was to honor America’s ideals of democracy and freedom and became the iconic symbol of hope to the 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island, New York from 1892 and 1954. Before that, in the 1840’s, 2 million Irish refugees braved the sea passage to wash up on American shores and try to build a better life — those millions of immigrants and refugees are likely part of your heritage, like they are mine, White America.

Statue of Liberty.jpeg

 

Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. Photo Credit: Refugee Daughter & Entrepreneur Manon DeFelice

Right now, the proud, defining American history of welcoming new people who invigorate our cities, towns and farms is at risk. Today, on World Refugee Day, there are two key ways that our government is closing our doors to refugees.

One is the devastating and immoral policy of separating children from their parents. This is an active choice by our President and his administration — it is completely avoidable and is simply cruel, racist and stupid. Cruel and racist are self-explanatory. Stupid because our centuries-long history of being a beacon for what freedom, democracy and hope mean as a nation is absolutely damaged. Our moral high ground against legitimate enemies is cut down at the knees. I observed directly how true American patriots are trying to fight back —my dear, brave San Diego friends took in Congolese refugee mother “Ms. L” to their home in the final days before she was finally reunified with her 7 year daughter. Ms. L traveled here seeking asylum and was separated from her child and incarcerated. The Administration helped clarify its own stupidity on this one: DHS Secretary Nielsen admitted the 4 month separation of mother and child was “a mistake”. (To support the lawyers who helped reunited mother and daughter, check out this GoFundMe campaign.)

But stupid doesn’t end there. The Trump administration has put forward an anti-immigrant, anti-refugee nominee, Ronald Mortensen, as Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees (PRM). PRM is one of the most important bureaus in the State Department, and it’s Assistant Secretary in many ways functions as America’s top humanitarian diplomat. Mortensen has written off whole groups of people as criminals and terrorists and dismissed entire faith communities for showing compassion to immigrants. We need someone who will have credibility when asking other states to welcome refugees. It is stupid to suggest we can fund refugees abroad while slamming the doors on them here at home. The US has accepted just over 14,000 refugees this year so far. The administration set the refugee admissions goal for Fiscal Year 2018 at 45,000 — the lowest level in U.S. history (and since the program began in 1975). Since the program’s inception, the United States has set an average refugee admissions goal of 95,000 refugees. 99.9% of the world’s over 22.5 million refugees in the world today are hosted elsewhere, 86% by developing nations. If the US does not do more to meet its fair share, how can we ask other countries to do theirs or keep our moral global leadership?

So, to be an informed, patriotic American today — World Refugee Day — I’m joining my friends at Oxfam America and asking that Senators vote no on the Mortensen nomination and that Representatives put out a statement of concern on his nomination. Please call your senators right now to tell them to block the Mortensen nomination and uphold the American legacy of compassion for people seeking safe haven.

Dial 1–866–374–0409 and Oxfam will connect you to your senators’ offices automatically.

Then, ask them to STOP FAMILY SEPARATION.

Talking Hunger-Obesity Paradox on CBS8 San Diego

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - When you hear the words “hunger” and “obesity” you usually think they are 180 degrees opposite. What if that wasn’t really the case?

In America there are around 49 million hungry American’s but the food that is given to them isn’t always the best for them.

Social enterprise powerhouse, innovator, author, food systems activist, and social entrepreneur, Ellen Gustafson joined News 8 Morning Extra to talk about how we can address the growing problems around food.

Ellen Gustafson@ellengustafson

#sandiego join me tomorrow night to talk #socent #socialentrepreneurship with @AliciaQuinn10 @HeraHub https://twitter.com/missionedgesd/status/993621113870737410 …

8:48 PM - May 8, 2018

See Ellen Gustafson's other Tweets

Want more information on this subject? Ellen Gustafson will be at Hera Hub Sorrento Valley, Wednesday night from 5:30 to 7:30 to talk about how to get the eco-system of social entrepreneurship to grow in the community. 

 Watch the interview HERE

An Old-Fashioned Birth Announcement

An Old-Fashioned Birth Announcement

My piece on Cosmo.com about a big life change:

Unlike most people in my social network, when I was pregnant, I did not share the obligatory ultrasound at the end of the first trimester, or a picture of my husband and my shoes with baby ones in the middle, or make a “reveal” video. I didn’t do all of those things because until this child was safely in my arms after delivery, I was never so comfortable to think that she would definitely arrive.

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(Very) Local Action on International Women’s Day

As an American woman on International Women’s Day, I am lucky to have the choice of which of the many issues affecting women in my community and around the world to advocate for. I don’t take this choice lightly. With women working around me still earning an average of 78 cents to the dollar our male counterparts earn for the same work and women across the economic spectrum still facing gender-related discrimination and violence, I am aware that we still have a long road to travel to true gender equality.

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It’s a sign of the times that Mark Bittman is signing off from his post as theNew York Times food opinion writer this month (double pun, intended). Although he had been writing about food, restaurants, and recipes for the Times for years, Bittman started a fresh chapter at the Grey Lady at the start of 2011, by taking up the topic of food politics and food system issues in a new column.

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The Danger Behind Processed Foods Is More Serious Than We Ever Imagined

The Danger Behind Processed Foods Is More Serious Than We Ever Imagined

I studied international relations, security, and warfare for four years, but it wasn’t until I left college that I made the connection between hunger and terrorism. Let’s backtrack a bit for some context: In the early fall of 2001, I was in my senior year at Columbia University as a political science major with a focus on global security policy. Specifically, I had become interested in the way the U.S. and the world work to avoid war, and ensure security in the modern world.

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Good News: Butter Isn’t as Bad for You as You Thought

Good News: Butter Isn’t as Bad for You as You Thought

It's back on our plates and palates ... and new science suggests it's not as bad for you as everyone thought.

For years, butter—along with other types of full-fat dairy and meat—has been taboo for health-conscious eaters. With diligence, we’ve spooned our fat-free yogurt, sipped our skinny flavored lattes and booted steak from our plates, believing that saturated fat would make us fat and put us on track for heart disease.

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10 Food Choices That Will Change Your LIFE

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Our flawed food system has led to dual epidemics: hunger and obesity. In the past 30 years, we've seen the repercussions of global changes, and they aren't pretty. We're closing in on 1 billion people going hungry—and an even greater number are already overweight. As a nation, we've traditionally focused on making food fast, convenient, and widely available rather than good for us.

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"Ellen Gustafson caps Big Omaha with a swift kick in the a$$ on eating habits"

"Ellen Gustafson caps Big Omaha with a swift kick in the a$$ on eating habits"

I had a blast at the 2014 Big Omaha Conference last week and was so excited that my conference-closing talk on food system change that starts with "We the Eaters" and our dinner plates got such a great reaction in Nebraska - one of the key breadbasket states in our country!  A new crop of food companies and healthy food solutions will come from our next generation farmers, supported by the next generation of "We the Eaters"!!

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