American need takes precedence

by Jasmine Barnes

Since the Cover The Night Kony event and summer vacation are coming up soon, it seems to be a good time to talk about America’s overseas humanitarian aid. Mission trips are the new trend among the young Christian generation and nearly all of these trips occur overseas. Everyone praises those who go to Haiti and Africa and talk about how they have made such a huge difference in the world. People forget that work needs to be done right here in America.

Although there are millions of children in Africa starving on a daily basis, according to Feeding America there are 16 million children starving here in the United States. America is a first world country, one that is usually considered a fat country compared to the other ones around the world. It is incredibly sad that there are children who go to sleep cold and hungry every night in a place where people are sleeping safe and sound in a heated home.

There are so many organizations in America that supply food to third world countries. These organizations grossly outnumber the ones that supply food to people here in our country. There have been cases of young children starving to death on the streets in the same city where there are skyscrapers and big shots. It is still sad that there are so many children dying in Africa but the American children are far more important.

On top of starvation, 14 percent of Americans are illiterate, according to In Africa, about 35 percent are illiterate. Again, there is a higher number in Africa but America should always come first. America is the home to some of greatest universities in the world and we are progressing faster than a majority of countries. It is ridiculous that in such an intelligent country, there is also such a high percentage of people who are illiterate.

The point of this article is that there are many people here in America that need help but we ignore them. We are shocked by what Kony does when there are gang bangers and drug lords using children to do their dirty work. We are sad when we see images of children in Africa with swollen bellies but fail to realize there are children in America in the same circumstance. We send people into the mission field to teach young children when our inner city school system is failing at the same time.

This summer before you decide to go overseas to help people, consider doing work here in America. If you live in a big city, try to help clean up a bad neighborhood. If you aren’t sure what you’re going to do with your life, consider teaching in an impoverished area. Picking overseas before America is like picking friends over family.

Barnes is a freshman majoring in English and secondary education. Comments can be sent to

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