Global Moms Relay: A month for moms everywhere

May traditionally brings special recognition to mothers here in the US. It’s quickly becoming a month to honor and help moms everywhere thanks to the Global Moms Challenge, an initiative by the United Nations Foundations and several partner organizations. Some of you might be familiar with the Global Moms Relay, their month-long online campaign to raise awareness and funds for families around the globe. It’s a good line up sharing their wishes and thoughts this year. Don’t miss this next week with the Queen of Jordan, Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Bryan Cranston and tomorrow, Lady Gaga’s mother.

Juju Chang speaks with Ambassador Samantha Power at Moms +Social Good in NYC (credit: UN Foundation)

A couple week ago I had the honor of attending the fourth annual Moms +SocialGood in New York City that kicked off the GM Relay. As usual the day brought together a lively group of experts, UN partners, public health leaders, community leaders, international leaders, advocates, celebrities and parents. The goal? Making the world a better place for children and families everywhere. Always an inspiring and awesome collection of expertise and experience, the conversations and problem-solving as usually left me nearly speechless every year. Nearly. 

The Highlights

Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN and now presidential cabinet member, yes, that one - the women who travels the globe and receives late night phone calls from the President and the Secretary of State.

For the second year in a row, the Ambassador graced the Moms +SocialGood attendees with her remarkable mixture of empathy, honesty and grit. This woman, force of nature nearly, works every day, at times 24/7, to ensure the safety and well-being of kids and families living in some of the most hellish, war-torn regions in the world. Visiting Cameron in April, Ambassador Power was openly teary-eyed after learning that a young woman, a child still, was used as a suicide bomber. Nightline caught her reaction on film in case you missed it. Speaking about the plight of girls stolen by Boko Haram, she told the audience in New York “I can’t imagine that sense of helplessness in the face of evil.” When asked about how she balances motherhood and her work, she didn’t even have to think about it. “I can’t separate being a mom from being a diplomat” she replied.

One of the most fascinating panels for Momma Data? The Whole Child Panel.  I love that term, whole child. It fills me with hope. The conversation hit on critical issues in children’s health, including those dear to me and I’m sure the Momma Data crowd - the need to recognize and treat depression and other psychological conditions in children, the role of life-saving vaccines, how poverty complicates the lives of children and families here and abroad, misinformation in the media and the recent presidential elections. Dr. Richard Besser, NBC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor commented nobody talked about children’s health in the recent presidential debates. How true. He asked Dr. Benard Dreyer, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, if parents voted based on children’s health. The AAP head didn’t know. I doubt there’s much if any data on it. Later, Dr. Dreyer called vaccines “the most amazing thing we can do for children.” Vaccine advocate and my fellow Shot @Life Champion, actor Amanda Peet noted the lack of accurate information, especially when in terms of vaccines, and reported,“It’s hard not to be apathetic, to stay informed, to bear witness.” Amen. One smart and courageous woman.

In brief, I was awed by the people on the stage, their attitudes and actions, and the celebrities weren’t bad either! Such genuine concern, passion and devotion to helping others. Although the talk turned to war, violence and the fate of refugees, I couldn’t help but notice a general sense of optimism.

By day’s end, several encouraging themes emerged, several paths to future health and well-being on this planet:

  • Together we can help solve these issues if we find common ground and act together. We need each other. It takes a community, a village, if you will. The media, politicians, doctors, nurses, teachers, teens, young, old, pregnant, we are all in this and can all play a role. 
  • Education is critical for girls and for boys. They are the future leaders, thought leaders, impact makers. 
  • These are not simply women’s issues; men must join in the effort to solve inequality, poverty, war and disease.

More about the Global Moms Relay:

From May 4 to June 17, celebrities, community leaders, experts and parents will share their personal stories on what they wish were true for every child, everywhere. Go to Global Moms Relay.

Every time you like, tweet, comment or share a post on social media, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 – up to $350,000 – to five causes that help improve the health and wellbeing of families worldwide: Shot@Life, Girl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and Nothing But Nets.

Use the Donate A Photo app and Johnson & Johnson will also donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up, U.S. Fund for UNICEF or Nothing But Nets, up to $150,000. Make a difference in seconds, with the click of a mouse or snap of your smart phone.

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