Like many parents, I’ve trained my young daughters that if they were lost in a public place they should seek help from another mommy with children. I hope they would find a mom just like Donna Brigham. She and her husband have already raised their daughters into the pre-teen and teenage years, so she’s one those of us with preschoolers can look to for advice.
This charming Memphis mother of two instantly made me feel welcome at the gathering of folks in Washington, DC for the National Stroller Brigade. Brigham and I learned to navigate the city’s Metro system together, finding our way to the rally and other events like the Tennessee Tuesday breakfast. That’s where we were honored to meet our state’s US Senators and thankful for the chance to appeal to them and their staff about the cause so close to our hearts.
Brigham is a Christian mom concerned about her children’s healthy future, and she’s also a Resource Director at Macon Road Baptist School. After 20 years in education, in her job now coordinating various services like therapy for students with disabilities, Brigham sees a rise in certain troublesome disorders. She’s concerned about what she’s hearing from science and health experts. “I have found that more of my children are coming in with diagnoses of autism or Asperger’s and pervasive developmental disorders and that chemicals could be related to that diagnosis.” Brigham is a member of the Learning Disabilities Association of America, one of several partner organizations making up the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition. The LDA shares helpful information through its Healthy Children Project. The larger coalition is hopeful that the Safe Chemicals Act will soon come up for a vote so that Congress can add common sense protections to our nation’s outdated chemical laws.
Brigham says she’s excited to learn more about the effort to protect our children from toxic chemicals in everyday products, and she’s willing to share with other parents, even if it’s one by one. After hearing from some in Washington that they haven’t heard from enough Tennessee parents, Brigham is undaunted by the personal challenge and is already taking the message to Memphis moms, “And so I’m gonna go back and I’m gonna ask them to write, email, phone, whatever they can do, I’m gonna give them blog sites and websites and (help them) just become more aware of the issue.”
Some years ago, Brigham wasn’t much of a runner. Now she regularly runs half-marathons to raise money for children with cancer. Like many moms out there, she doesn’t accept excuses when there are children in need. Brigham asks, “Why can’t we do something to prevent our kids being exposed to chemicals that are a danger to them? Why do we have to wait until it’s too late, why can’t we get it on the front, early intervention, prevention?”
If you live in Tennessee and agree that Congress should consider the health of our children and pass the Safe Chemicals Act, you can let them know by contacting Senator Alexander’s office here and contacting Senator Corker’s office here.