Catrena Bowman-Thomas Reflects on Security
se·cu·ri·ty (səˈkyo͝orədē) 1. the state of being free from danger or threat. As we head into another week of the government shutdown, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the word security and grappling with what it means — to me, to my family, to the families and communities we serve, and to our country. Security is essential in life. We all work to provide a home that is safe and secure for our families. We send our children to schools hoping that the teachers and administrators put their safety first and keep the buildings secure. We work with our families and the communities we serve to empower them to reach for a brighter, more secure future through education, training, and living-wage jobs. We elect officials that we hope will keep our best interests at heart, including keeping us secure. There are many different types of security, but the main question I have pondered over these weeks is: When did border security become our most important type of security? I agree border security is a serious matter; I have many family members that have fought in wars to protect our freedoms with the hope of keeping our country secure from all threats. However, is border security more important than food security? According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 655,000 Kentuckians receive nutritious food from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More than 68 percent belong to families with children. More than 38 percent belong to families with members who are elderly or have a disability. The families receiving this assistance have been notified that they will receive their last allocation on January 20 and will not receive any further assistance until the government shutdown ends. I have only been in Northern Kentucky for a short time, but I have seen a community that will rally together to get things done. I know this community will work together during this time to ensure the most vulnerable citizens are not without food. People will give to local food banks and convince their neighbors to do the same. However, I challenge you to ask yourself the same question: Is border security more important than food security? And I challenge you to also ask this of your local, state, and federal representatives. What is their highest priority and is that the most important priority for our country?