- First Lady of the United States
Michelle Obama, an American lawyer and writer, is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States.
- First Lady of the United States
Michelle Obama, an American lawyer and writer, is the wife of the 44th and current President of the United States, Barack Obama, and the first African-American First Lady of the United States.
End Child Marriage, Sign the Executive Order!
When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped for a marriage to a much older man, as depicted in the film Difret. On the day I was abducted, I was raped by my would be "husband." I knew I had to fight back and escape the first chance I got. I was taken to a hut and locked up. When I received another visit from my abductor I saw my chance. When he was suddenly called away, he left his gun leaning against the wall and the door unlocked. My father had taught me how to fire a gun, so I took it and ran. When he and his friends chased me, I shot him. It was the most terrifying, horrible ordeal of my entire life -- and I'm one of the lucky ones. I was accused of murder and after 2 years in the courts, the judge ruled that it was, in fact, self-defense. My trial led to a re-examination of this tradition and the Ethiopian government is now working to end child marriage and female genital cutting by 2025. In addition, the African Union recently launched a campaign to end child marriage across the continent. I am now dedicating my life to working on this issue and to give voice to the screams of unheard rural women and girls. I don’t want to see the same story happen to any more girls. And yet, it still is. You can help. Please join me in ending child marriage around the world by signing this petition, asking President Obama to sign the executive order that would help prevent an estimated 39,000 child marriages every day. This petition is supported by Global Fund for Women, Ms Magazine, Equality Now and Truth Aid. The Call to Action We need the Obama Administration and the State Department to deliver what was promised: a comprehensive strategy for ending child marriage. In March 2013, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) that included a commitment to ending child marriage worldwide. The law requires the State Department to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to end child marriage and to direct U.S. foreign assistance to programs in countries where child marriage is prevalent. We are asking that this strategy be created and announced in 2015, and that it include the following whole-of government strategy: + Our foreign assistance agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, would be directed to craft evidence-based, stand-alone programs to delay the age of marriage, foster girls’ agency and choice and promote equitable and rights-based societies that give girls the tools they need to thrive, while also leveraging our considerable investments in such areas as health, education and food security to ensure these programs are being fully utilized to address related elements of the practice. + State Department diplomats on the world stage and in bilateral talks with countries that have high rates of child marriage would be directed to raise the issue of child marriage as a U.S. foreign policy priority, and would work to ensure that carrots—and, where necessary, sticks—are deployed to encourage meaningful action by all countries to end this global scourge. Such a strategy would recognize and institutionalize the fact that child, early and forced marriage impacts the whole life of the girl and that holistic, rights-based approaches are therefore necessary to end it. + A draft Strategy is sitting at the Department of State. While the President and the First Lady have recently launched an important effort to provide education for at-risk girls globally, until the President signs an Executive Order giving these efforts the full force of law, we cannot be certain that these efforts will be fully implemented and funded. And thus they will not make any real difference in the lives of girls all over the world. Every day that we wait for the implementation of the new law to become reality, another 39,000 girls are married. This is unacceptable. When girls are forced into marriage early, entire communities miss out on their potential as change makers, economic drivers, and leaders. We must end child marriage to allow girls to realize their full potential in order to achieve the world we want. We need a coordinated, whole-of government strategy immediately. You can help. Tell President Obama to issue an Executive Order directing the U.S. government to use its full force to protect and empower the world’s girls and end child marriage once and for all. In U.S. Theaters October 23rd, 2015. Get tickets here: bit.ly/DifretInTheaters
From the grassroots women leaders of Congo to the women leaders of the White House
“We have had enough. We call upon our global sisterhood to take action. We will not be quiet until REAL Peace is upon us.” On November 20, 2012, M23 rebels seized Goma, a major city in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, reigniting a war that has ravaged the region for 16 years. Neema Namadamu and a group of grassroots women leaders who call themselves the Maman Shujaa ('Hero Women' in Swahili) are calling on you and US woman leaders Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, and Michelle Obama to take immediate action in solidarity with the women of the Congo. I was born in a very remote village in South Kivu Province, eastern Congo. I belong to a marginalized tribe and I am crippled from Polio. But none of those things characterize me. I have a vision for my country—a new and peaceful Congo—that compels me, and its destiny is driving me. War has ravaged my homeland for 16 years. Today, eastern Congo is labeled the worst place on earth to be a woman. We have been brutalized by our brothers who perpetrate violence on the bodies of their sisters, daughters, and mothers in the worst imaginable ways. A woman is 134 times more likely to be raped in my region than a woman in the United States. Several months ago, soldiers indiscriminately beat my own daughter. Congo is home to the second largest rain forest in the world, behind Brazil, and 60% of all Africa’s forests. It has enough hydropower potential to power all of Africa. It has an estimated 24 trillion dollars of mineral wealth, far greater un-monetized wealth than any other nation in the world. But the mothers of its children live in poverty, in fear of being raped, daily losing their sons and husbands to endless wars. We are brutalized in unconscionable ways by monsters wearing military uniforms. We are tired of this. We have had enough. We know that we can create peaceful, sustainable communities in Congo through a holistic new model that ends violence, poverty, and the destruction of nature altogether. This July I set up a women’s internet café and media center and gathered grassroots women leaders across my region to discuss the future of our country. Within two months we had nearly 200 women activists reporting about life in war-torn DRC through the action media network World Pulse. We began speaking out—demanding the Congo we hold in our hearts to manifest all around us. As women, our solutions are inclusive, as they are rooted in family and community. But last week rebels took hold of Goma, inflicting more horrors upon its women and children—even pregnant women—and threatened to advance to our area. The region has been destabilized by this deadly power play and 140,000 people have been displaced. We as women must join together now because WE CAN. Even in remote Congo we have become connected to our global sisterhood. We who are One with the 35 million+ women of the DRC, who are One with the 3.5 billion+ women of the world, are standing for an end to all violence and aggression in Eastern DRC. We will not be quiet until real peace is upon us. We, the grassroots women leaders of eastern DRC, call upon our female counterparts in the White House—our sisters Secretary Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Susan Rice, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and First Lady Michelle Obama—to speak with your President on our behalf and ensure a true peace process begins in our homeland. We ask for the immediate appointment of a special presidential envoy to work with the African Union and United Nations to forge a peace process that addresses both the immediate crisis and the underlying longer-term economic and political interests of the parties involved. Only through a mediation of this level can we hope to establish resolution among the numerous states, rebel armies, and special interests who have long fueled this conflict and humanitarian crisis. And, it is essential that any action ensures Congolese women—who are uniquely positioned to act on behalf of family and community—have a voice in the peace process and a seat at the table. STAND WITH US! Sincerely, Neema Namadamu and the Maman Shujaa (‘Hero Women’) of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Help Fight Childhood Cancer. Tell Congress 4% For Research Funding Is Not Enough!
Please sign this petition and tell congress that there needs to be more than 4% funding for childhood cancer research. On June 10th 2016 another young life was taken by childhood cancer. This young life was Brayden Kier. He was just 3.5 years old but inspired many and those who followed him and his family have promised to #NeverForgetBrady . The best way that we can do that is with this petition that will help his family carry on the fight. You see childhood cancer only gets 4% in research funding! This needs to change so that there can be more drugs available to help these children. ~ Childhood cancer kills more U.S. children than any other disease – more than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies, combined. ~Worldwide, 160,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer each year. ~Childhood cancers have increased .6% every year since 1975. This equals an overall increase of 21% in the last 36 plus years. ~ The incidence of invasive pediatric is up 29% in the past 20 years. The average age of death is 8. Yet pediatric cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
Don't deport my husband.
My husband, Rony, lost most of his male relatives to the drug cartels in Honduras. Rony’s father owned land that he would not hand over, so his family was brutally murdered. My husband came to the US looking for a safer life but is currently in deportation proceedings that would send him back to the extortion and violence he fled. Our daughter, Ava Lily, is about to turn one -- and as she starts taking her first steps, Rony is sitting in a detention center in Texas. He has been an amazing father and he is a hardworking man who supported us with his landscaping business. The consequence of sending him back to Honduras and the murderous drug cartels will likely be his demise -- leaving me a widow and his children without a father. Rony has other family here who sought asylum in the US after hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998. They’ve remained a big part of our lives and we all want him safely with us. In cases where there are extenuating circumstances, immigration officers can pardon a detainee under prosecutorial discretion. Please join me in asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to grant prosecutorial discretion to Rony Francisco Granados Hernandez based on the extortion and murder of his family. Please help Rony return to his loving family. Thank you for your support.
Clemency for Kwame Kilpatrick. He was wrong but 28 years is too excessive.
Dear President Obama, As a native Detroiter, I am well aware of the things that Mr. Kwame Kilpatrick has done wrong. I believe he should pay for his wrong doings but 28 years in prison is just too excessive. Prior to you Mr. Obama, I had not believed a black man could be President until I saw how Kwame galvanized the City of Detroit and without his mistakes the sky could have been the limit for him. He gave the city hope again, brought investments in and he truly did make a positive impact in a community that had been headed for destruction since the 50's because labor costs, white flight and the decline of the Big 3 automotive companies. I recognize that yes, Kwame is not without fault and has done wrong and should have to pay for what he has done, but let us remember that we are not talking about a career criminal. We are talking about a man with multiple degrees who rose to Mayor in one of the Major cities in the country when he could have fled the ruins of Detroit and taken his talents to Washington or the private sector. Instead he took the rains of a sinking ship and did a better job than anyone could have expected. I plead with you to support change for Kwame. This is yet another extremely intelligent black man that we are going to allow to rot away in prison. Instead he could be released and given the opportunity to work for the State and City government to educate young politicians on the slippery slope of corruption which every Senator, Congressmen, State Rep, Governor, Mayor, Aldermen and City Council member face everyday. Everyday one of these elected officials is walking a tight rope in between what is considered politics and what is considered racketeering and corruption. Pull Kwame out of prison and let him use his mind, his heart and his voice to shield other young politicians, black men and women away from the unfortunate trap he fell into. Yes people were hurt, yes people were mad but I have forgiven him and others will as well. Everyone deserves a second chance and I believe the City of the Detroit will be a better place with OUR Son out of prison and back home doing the work to rebuild his family, city and his reputation. Kwame is just too smart to be in prison and it is a disservice and an atrocity to lock him away for that long. His wife and children are barely surviving. They are being watched and hunted down by the government for any money or help they receive. It's wrong and it needs to be made right. This is my final point. President Obama you recently pardoned some people who actually sold drugs and were caught. The reason you pardoned them was because even though they sold drugs, the sentences they were given were too excessive. One of the people pardoned happens to be Denver Bronco's Demaryius Thomas' mother. This is a quote from the White House post the pardon " These unduly harsh sentences are one of the reasons the President is committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy unfairness in our criminal justice system. Today, he is continuing this effort by granting clemency to 46 men and women, nearly all of whom would have already served their time and returned to society if they were convicted of the exact same crime today." Even though Kwame was at fault while Mayor of Detroit....28 years is too excessive. There are too many black men in prison to date. Many if who were released may or may not make an impact. Let's not keep a GOOD one in there for 28 years. Kwame can make an impact on SO many people the day he walks out of prison. Thank you in advance for your support and peace be with you for reading. Very Respectfully, The People for the release of Kwame Kilpatrick
Save His Pension!
My husband did physically demanding work for over 30 years for Yellow Freight, and he did it happily, knowing that all of his hard work came with the promise of a pension to support us in our retirement. In 2014, Congress decided that those promises don’t matter -- it passed the Multi-Employer Pension Recovery Act (MPRA), which allows for disastrous cuts to the pensions of those who are already retired and on a fixed income. The pension Jeff earned will now be cut by 50%, putting our home and future in jeopardy. The MPRA was slipped into a must-pass Omnibus budget bill just hours before it had to be voted on to keep the government from shutting down. This dirty tactic was the only way such an unfair law could get passed. Now, lawmakers are trying to work to reverse the damage before it is too late, with the Keep Our Pension Promises Act (KOPPA). UPDATE 4/9/16: THE SAME PEOPLE WHO HAD MPRA SLIPPED INTO THE OMNIBUS IN 2014 ARE NOW WORKING ON A BILL TO MAKE IT LEGAL TO SLASH PENSIONS OF RETIREES IN FUNDS LIKE JEFF'S THAT ARE LESS THAN 120% FUNDED. THIS IS BLATANT PENSION THEFT! Tell Congress to protect seniors’ pensions. Pass the Keep Our Pension Promises Act. For lawmakers, many of whom are financially secure and don’t need to worry about their retirement, stories like ours don’t seem to matter when they pass harmful legislation. We don't live extravagantly. Now, because of MPRA, we are not sure if we can keep our home. Even worse, we have to stop helping two relatives with food and medical expenses. Jeff is 69 and I'm 66 and I’m scared we will be expected to go back into the workforce if we want to survive. Even if we wanted to, my husband has two bad shoulders and a bad hip from over 30 years of heavy lifting at Yellow Freight. I have a heart problem. It is a shame we are in a place where seniors even have to entertain this idea. The wealthiest country in the world can do better. Our lawmakers can do better. Jeff is a Vietnam vet. 60% of pensioners affected by this bill are Veterans. Jeff's pension fund still has $18 billion he and 400,000 others worked hard for. People like us cannot afford laws like the MPRA. It must be reversed or seniors like us could find ourselves on the streets and living in poverty. Please join us in asking Congress to pass the Keep Our Pension Promises Act.
Issue Allied Afghan Interpreter An Immigrant Visa
In 2011, I was deployed to Afghanistan in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces. My job was to help protect the perimeter of our base. We encountered many dangerous situations, and, at each turn, I was profoundly grateful to our dedicated Afghan interpreter, Jamie, for seeing us through. Now Jamie needs our help. For five years, he has been trying to get his immigrant visa so he can come to the U.S. and start a well-deserved new life. I trusted Jamie with my life. He has served our country with the utmost loyalty for eight years, and it is time to take him out of harm’s way and honor him with a visa. Jamie is not his real name. I have changed it to protect him from retaliation for having worked with us during the war. During my time over there, Jamie was one of us. He spent more time with us than he did his own family. He was one of the few locals who had a 24-hour base pass and could stay overnight. He was even given a cell phone, a huge act of trust on my superiors’ part since someone less reliable could use a phone to coordinate an attack. But Jamie was entirely trustworthy. He helped us understand the culture and the situation; he made us safer and better able to complete our mission in an effective and respectful manner. Jamie’s record with our military is flawless. He has many recommendations from the units he worked with, and even received a letter of recommendation from a base commander. I see no reason that we should not honor him with the visa he deserves for his faithful dedication to the USA. Please sign my petition calling on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant Jamie his immigrant visa. He is in danger in Afghanistan due to his diligent work with us. We cannot let this honorable man remain in harm’s way. https://www.gofundme.com/savejamie2016 Thank you, in advance, for your attention to this matter. For reference, his Visa application numbers: KBL2012527007 and KBL2011745005
Pres. Obama, Free Aafia Siddiqui before your term ends
November 26, 2016To: The First Lady of USA, Mrs. Michelle Obama The White House Washington, DC. Dear Mrs. Obama,Congratulations on completing two full terms as First Lady of the United States of America.America is a land where freedom, justice, and equality can prevail over momentary folly and long term prejudices. It is a land capable of filling the heart with love and compassion; a land that promises both economic and intellectual opportunities; a land that assures any individual the right to stand up and say "I can make things better." Those promises brought you to the White House. Mrs. Obama, I too am a mother with two beautiful and talented daughters. I too believe in those values that America claims to stand for, but my dreams were shattered by a brutal reality. I am the mother of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, who was detained and incarcerated with her three young children in 2003, in the name of the war on terror. In the summer of 2008 a group of human rights investigators located her in Bagram and began legal proceedings to force her release.In the face of these revelations my daughter was moved to the other side of Afghanistan and dropped onto the streets of Ghazni. After being re-arrested, she was shot by one of the American agents who was sent to retrieve her, and then accused of attacking them. She was subsequently charged with a crime that was never committed (“attempted murder” of US personnel).Her trial in New York City was a mockery of justice that reflected the legacy of the Salem witch trials of the past. The 86 year sentence she received, without any physical or forensic evidence to support the conviction, is beyond belief. Details of the case can be accessed at www.freeaafia.com and www.aafiamovement.com .Today, as you stand with your two daughters contemplating your own historic legacy, I humbly request that you take a minute to reflect upon another innocent family’s ordeal. Aafia could have been anybody’s daughter. What if one of your daughters had a burning desire to make a positive change in the lives of others, and all her life studied to achieve one goal, to improve the educational system by making learning more efficient for handicapped children. What if she wanted to help those who have been neglected by society; what if she volunteered with autistic kids, orphans and old ladies?What if she believed that faith is essential and mutually inclusive of all sciences and logic? What if she decided to embrace her grandfather’s faith because she thought it was logical and true? Would you be proud of her or would you ask your agencies to lock her up for the rest of her life because she is a Muslim? Madam First Lady, I ask you to reflect and think where your country’s war on terror has taken you. How many innocent lives will it destroy? These actions will not make America a safer place. Muslims do not hate America; but we are appalled when America abandons its principles. America's actions are creating enemies from those who would normally be its strongest allies. Cases like the mistreatment of my daughter only encourage that intolerant and violent minority of extremists who are just as happy killing Muslims as anyone else. Just this week in Pakistan these people tried to blow up an airforce base, killing and injuring some of our country’s finest. Your forefathers were bitterly wronged, which must give you a unique perspective on justice. I ask, are you ready to say enough is enough, release this innocent soul? Too often claims of national security are misused to protect individuals in government from being embarrassed or even punished for their mistakes. Is it fair to make Aafia pay for someone else's errors? Madam, I request you to think as a mother, to look into my daughter’s case personally and see for yourself how she was tortured and raped and videotaped while in US custody. See for yourself how the judge who presided over the case in New York City twisted justice. I ask you to meet with me, meet my family, make your own judgments, are we a terrorist family?My daughter stands for love, peace and justice; she is a victim of terror, not a terrorist. May God give you the courage and wisdom to do the right thing, and save yourselves and your country from setting the cornerstones of injustice, discrimination and state terrorism. I thank you for taking the time to read this humble plea of a grieving mother with a tortured heart. Sincerely,Ismat Siddiqui Mother of Dr Aafia Siddiqui Introduction to Change.Org Petition The author of this introduction is an African American human right advocate. I've been doing human rights work in America for over 25 years; and needless to say, I have seen and experienced much over the course of this time. One of the most disturbing cases to come to my attention is the case of a young Pakistani woman by the name of Aafia Siddiqui. Dr. Siddiqui came to the US as an 18 year old student in 1990. She graduated with honors from MIT and Brandeis, with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. In addition to her academic prowess, her commitment to her faith (Islam) led her on the path of volunteerism for a number of noble causes.In addition to the recognition and praise for her extracurricular activity, a cloud of suspicion formed over the head of this exceptional young woman. When she returned home in 2002 - after 12 exceptionally fruitful years in the US - that suspicion, based on bad "intelligence," led to her being targeted for a rendition operation carried out by American and Pakistani agents. Dr. Siddiqui was kidnapped (with her three young children in March 2003) and disappeared for the next five years. In 2008 she was returned to the United States barely clinging to life, and was later put on trial for a manufactured offense.Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has described the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as "the worse case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed." This writer wholeheartedly agrees with that assessment. Our hope is that President Barack H. Obama - via The Mother to Mother Appeal that follows - will use his powers to end this nightmare before he leaves office.
Help Save Our Home
We have been good customers for many years and didn't miss mortgage payments until Wells Fargo refused to accept payments after an unemployment deferment when my wife lost her job. Wells Fargo employees never disclosed the program for deferred balance repayment until after it was too late for us to qualify for it. The bank has refused to accept any payment from us unless we pay the entire overdue amount, which has continued to grow because Wells Fargo won't accept our payments. If we'd had thousands of dollars to pay the deferred amount, we wouldn't have needed the deferment. Mortgage attorneys have refused our case because we have equity in the home of over $100,000 and it is known that Wells Fargo refuses to modify loans for people with equity or that have completed more than half the term of the loan because the bank has no vested interest in the homeowner keeping their home. The bank will make more money by selling the home from under the homeowner so they refuse to modify the loan and simply wait out the appeals process until the homeowner has exhausted all their options. Then Wells Fargo makes a great profit and the homeowner is left with nothing. With all of our appeals to the bank and the State exhausted, we are left with wiping out our retirement savings to save our home and with the bank dragging their feet on giving us a catch-up amount for the loan we don't even know if we'll have enough doing that. Federal programs enacted after the bank bailouts were supposed to be designed to keep hard working families in their homes. We need help and our calls to Representative Barbara Lee, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Senator Dianne Feinstein have resulted in no substantive action. Now we need help from the customers of Wells Fargo and community at large to keep our home. My wife, son, and aging mother all need a place to live. Please help!
Stop the EPA from allowing dumping in the Long Island Sound!
A federal decision to allow the dumping of treated sewage into the Long Island Sound. We need to protect our Home. Polluted runoff and untreated sewage released into the water can expose swimmers to harmful microorganisms called “pathogens.” These pathogens can be present at or near the site where polluted discharges enter the water. Pollution can also come from high concentrations of farm animals like pigs and chickens that can contaminate local waterways with runoff, which is then carried to beaches and swimming areas. In addition, pollution is created by people who leave trash or animal wastes at beaches. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely populations to develop illnesses or infections after coming into contact with polluted water, usually while swimming. Fortunately, while swimming-related illnesses are unpleasant, they are usually not very serious - they require little or no treatment or get better quickly upon treatment, and they have no long-term health effects. The most common illness associated with swimming in water polluted by sewage is gastroenteritis. It occurs in a variety of forms that can have one or more of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, stomachache, diarrhea, headache or fever. Other minor illnesses associated with swimming include ear, eye, nose and throat infections. In highly polluted water, swimmers may occasionally be exposed to more serious diseases. Most swimmers are exposed to waterborne pathogens when they swallow the water. People can get some infections simply from getting polluted water on their skin or in their eyes. In rare cases, swimmers can develop illnesses or infections if an open wound is exposed to polluted water. Exerpt from the EPA website. Let's make them heed their own advice!!!!!