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Take action on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is Sunday. As a mom of two incredible kids, I want to take a moment and ask you to take action to do what parents do every day: Protect our children.

Junk food corporations like McDonald's spend billions of dollars on marketing aimed directly at our children. That's because McDonald's knows if it can get a child hooked on its products when children are young, then McDonald's will have a customer for life. As the industry leader, McDonald's has developed insidious ways to market to children wherever it can -- and especially where parents are not -- including online and even in schools!

Such aggressive kid-targeted junk food marketing is making our kids sick. Today we face a public health epidemic where rates of childhood diet-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes are skyrocketing. It's got to stop -- and you can be part of the solution.

This predatory marketing is just one of the ways that McDonald's abusive corporate practices are harming children. McDonald's also pays its workers poverty wages. More than half of all fast-food workers depend on government assistance programs like food stamps and Medicaid to meet their families' needs. And around the fields where McDonald's potatoes grow, helicopters regularly spray pesticides near families' homes. Children exposed to large amounts of pesticides face increasing levels of developmental disabilities, neuromuscular disorders, cancer, and other illnesses.

In the lead-up to McDonald's shareholders' meeting, we're partnering with Pesticide Action Network, Toxic Taters, and Fight for $15 to challenge McDonald's abusive behaviors that are harming our children.

This month, we have a great opportunity to advance our campaign to end McDonald's outrageous kid-targeted marketing and other abuses. At McDonald's shareholders' meeting next week, my colleagues and our allies will face the CEO, CFO, other executives, and board of directors to demand accountability.

We're going into the meeting with some great momentum: The second-largest school district in the U.S. (Los Angeles Unified School District) just passed a resolution to ban McDonald's McTeacher's Nights, with the support of United Teachers Los Angeles, a major teachers union. They are leading the way for other schools and school districts to keep McDonald's out of our kids' schools. Together, with workers demanding fair wages and families demanding an end to harmful pesticide spraying -- we're sending a message loud and clear: McDonald's must be held accountable for abusive practices that put our children at risk.

I can tell you from experience that shareholders' meetings are both nerve-wracking and empowering. It's rare that the people directly affected by a corporation's abuses are able to bring their demands to the top decision-makers. And it helps us speak boldly and confidently when we know that thousands of people have our backs as we speak truth to power.

Will you raise your voice and support us in the meeting? Send a letter to McDonald's now and demand the end of harmful corporate practices that threaten our children.

Happy Mother's Day, and thank you for standing with me to protect our children.

Gigi Kellett is the Deputy Director for Operations at Corporate Accountability International.

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