Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center
WASHINGTON, January 15, 2024 — Today, we reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a visionary leader who dedicated his life to dismantling economic disparities and racial inequities through political activism. His teachings resonate as a timeless call for opportunity and equality for all.
In the final months of his life, Dr. King intensified his focus on poverty and economic injustice, recognizing their profound impact on inequality in America. This commitment inspired a collective voice for equality, fairness, and justice, echoed through initiatives like The Poor People’s Campaign.
Historically marginalized and underserved communities, particularly those of color, face systemic barriers hindering access to critical resources such as the federal nutrition programs.
Federal nutrition programs are among the best tools to address disparities in hunger, poverty, and health. Still, despite significant growth and success in expansion efforts, these programs are reaching too few eligible people.
Addressing inequities in program access requires not only economic reforms but also a steadfast dedication to dismantling systemic racial inequalities.
Dr. King said, “The worst mistake we could make now would be to demand too little. We have the capacity to change the political conversation in this country. It’s time.” His words remind us that demanding far too little from our leaders is a big mistake.
As we honor Martin Luther King Jr., we recognize the need to break down barriers to federal nutrition programs — the resources to help rid us of poverty.
The School Nutrition Programs are vital tools for combating childhood hunger, improving children’s health, and supporting academic achievement. Allowing schools to offer healthy school meals to all of their students at no charge would help overcome the numerous barriers that limit participation and give all children access to the nutrition they need to grow and thrive. FRAC is actively advocating for strengthening these programs by ensuring equal access to these programs.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger. While SNAP plays a crucial role in supporting tens of millions of people, its current benefits fall short of meeting the needs of SNAP recipients, underscoring the urgency for legislative action. Expanding equitable access to SNAP through the Farm Bill would allow more people to better afford to put food on the table.
By heeding Dr. King’s call to use our resources to end poverty, we can build a path toward a more equitable and hunger-free nation.
The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.