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In March, 16 Jennifer  Garner went to Washington to testify about child poverty at a hearing for the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee on behalf of the charity Save the Children. Garner, who is a trustee of the charity, appeared before the committee on the same day that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal—which would significantly cut the Education Department funding and does not prioritize early childhood education—was released. (The budget proposal also proposes severe cuts to funding for programs that serve low-income Americans, like Meals on Wheels, after-school and summer programs, and programs that provide nutrition for pregnant and nursing women, among others.)

“Mothers come up to me and say, ‘Can you help get my child into these programs? Can you just nudge us up in the wait-list? Is there anything you can do?’ ” Garner said of her work with Save the Children. “The thought that I would have to go back to these mothers and say, ‘Well, no, there is nothing that I can do.’ . . . These families know what it is to have this intervention, and they know what they’re losing when its gone, and I’ll have to answer to it.” The actress, in turn, called fora “significant investment in high-quality childhood education, proven effective programs like Early Head Start, childcare development block grants, preschool development grants, and home visitation models,” like Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success.

“It’s easy to escape responsibility for disgrace like that by blaming the parents,” Garner said, and made reference to her own childhood in West Virginia, where she grew up around children in poverty. “Who doesn’t talk to a child? Who doesn’t sing to their child? I’ll tell you who: Parents who have lived their whole lives with the stresses that come with food scarcity, with lack of adequate shelter, with drug addiction and abuse. Parents who were left on the floor when they were children, ignored by their parents, who had to choose, as one out of three mothers in this country do, between providing food or a clean diaper for their children. Poverty dulls the senses, it saps hope, it destroys the will.”

“These children don’t vote, they don’t make political contributions; neither do their parents,” Garner said. “Somebody has to tell their story above all the noise. Poverty is silent, but I can’t be.”

Source: Vogue

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Appearances > 2017 > March, 16 – Trustee for Save the Children, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington

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