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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Celebrates World Health Day

July 21, 2009
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) joined Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and local members of the grassroots, global anti-poverty organization ONE today at City Hall to declare Los Angeles a "ONE City" against global poverty and disease.

Congresswoman Waters said, "As individuals, communities, and nations, we can and must join in efforts to fight extreme poverty and prevent deadly diseases.  Los Angeles is a global city, so it is appropriate that we are a "ONE City" dedicated to important global causes.  Likewise, I will continue to advocate for applying American generosity, ingenuity, and prosperity to aid the world's poor and vulnerable."

She noted that poverty and disease are problems here in the United States as well, where more than 37 million people – including more than 13 million children – live in poverty.  The poverty rate in Los Angeles County is 14.5 percent.  More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance and are therefore more likely to die from preventable or treatable diseases including diabetes, heart disease and HIV/AIDS.  As the nation's economy has slowed and unemployment continues rising, more people are unemployed and at risk for losing access to health care.  "We must do everything we can to end poverty and improve public health here at home and around the world," Congresswoman Waters said.

In addition to supporting humanitarian assistance to Haiti and impoverished nations in Africa and elsewhere, Congresswoman Waters has introduced legislation to cancel the debts that the world's poorest nations owe to international financial institutions so these countries can instead use their funds to reduce poverty and invest in healthcare and education for their citizens.  She introduced the Jubilee Act (H.R. 2634) which the House of Representatives passed last year, and she introduced legislation to stop vulture funds – private investment funds that buy up the debts of poor countries at reduced prices then sue to obtain usurious payments.

"As a result of the efforts of committed advocates and organizations, many of which are now a part of the ONE campaign, 23 heavily indebted poor countries already have received complete cancellation of their debts.  However, many other needy and deserving poor countries have not, and I will not give up until they do," said Congresswoman Waters.

Congresswoman Waters, who co-chairs the Congressional Black Caucus AIDS Task Force, has also been a leader in fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United States and globally.  She has supported AIDS prevention and treatment and other efforts to eradicate preventable deaths from disease and malnutrition.

"Today is World Health Day, a fitting time to renew our commitment to battling diseases like AIDS and malaria that claim the lives of millions of people but can be prevented," said Congresswoman Waters.

As a ONE City, Los Angeles joins more than 130 cities across America in helping to raise awareness about extreme global poverty and disease.

More information about ONE can be found at