Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty-Four

By Tiffany Hoang, SPB Intern for AIA

Last Wednesday, I fasted for the first time in my life.  Before the day began, I was a little bit nervous, but mostly excited for what the purpose of my day would be –to bring awareness to the violence in Oakland, build peace in solidarity with the youth at Life Academy, and to truly reflect on my I-statement, “To not have negative opinions about myself and value the person I really am: physically, mentally and emotionally.”  Since I spent most of my day at Life, fasting wasn’t such a difficult task. Everyone pretty much knew what was up.

The first few hours of my fast went by pretty smoothly.  I wasn’t hungry and the sight of food wasn’t as tempting as I thought it would be.  It was the thought of not being able to eat for 24 hours that was a little bit scary.  I was usually able to brush off the thought by reminding myself, “mind over matter.”  The second part of my day was much more difficult.  Between 3-6PM I was sitting in on an E-Team cross-site meeting, and they were serving sandwiches and juice.  The smell of those sandwiches was so tempting! But whenever I noticed my desire for food, I took a sip of water.  It definitely helped to be surrounded by so many strong youth leaders. They shared with me personal stories about their involvement with the Season of Peace-Building Campaign. Their stories became the food for my soul. These young adults reminded me that this was a cause greater than myself.  It was a cause that surpassed my mental and physical boundaries.

The final part of my day was the most difficult.  Returning home to my apartment, I felt my energy depleting.  My head started to hurt, my stomach felt so empty, and I couldn’t think about anything but food!  I went to bed really early that night.  I had minimal energy to do homework, and since I didn’t have to take out the time to cook and eat dinner, I had almost 2 hours of my night to spare.

I took the time to publicize my fasting experience on Facebook and spread the word about the campaign.  I remember going to bed that night, with this obnoxious headache, thinking –how did Gandhi do it?  How did Cesar Chavez do it?  I was barely able to make it through one day without food.  Then I thought about the kids. About the youth  who have fasted with such bravery and strength, and those who have fasted more than once –what courage and dedication they had.  Then I really started to reflect on the Season of Peace- Building Campaign.  I thought about the big picture, and the story that this fasting relay would one day tell.  Then my mind started to imagine all the ways that I could continue contributing to the campaign.  And from there, my alarming headache suppressed as I dozed off into the night.  In the morning, the headache was gone, and the thought of food re-surfaced. I couldn’t wait to break my fast.

When the time came, I realized how much I take food for granted, and how thankful I am that I have the ability and means to eat whenever I am hungry.  Fasting has been one of the most intense and challenging experiences I have ever had, but I’m glad that I went through with it.

Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.

Visit us on:
On Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/seasonof.peacebuilding
On Twitter: @RAW_BAM
On Instagram: Life_Academy

Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty-Three

By Jovilynn Macaraeg, Junior

During my fast , I reflected on how grateful I am that I have food. They are people starving to death and they don’t have a choice however, I only felt a little bit of that. I also reflected on the pledge”I pledge to defend others who cannot defend themselves.” I thought about people who can’t defend themselves, physically and financially. There are many people in the world who are living in poverty and they are following the system that won’t allow them to overcome it. I want to be able to help to educate them, and embolden them so they can become something better. I want them to break the cycle like Life Academy is doing for its students.

I know it was difficult to fast because I’m so used to eating. However, I know this is suppose to be difficult. Just like keeping the peace is difficult. This fight for peace is showing dedication to the group and how we are willing to do anything for peace.

Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.

Visit us on:
On Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/seasonof.peacebuilding
On Twitter: @RAW_BAM
On Instagram: Life_Academy

Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty-One

By Lindsay San Martin, Life Academy Teacher

This is not the first time I have fasted. I have fasted twice before, both for the purposes of starting a new diet. I find it ironic that while I was fasting for peace, I chose to focus on not having negative thoughts about myself when the times I have fasted previously, were because of negative thoughts. As a woman, I am constantly surrounded by images and ads of what it is like to be a “healthy” woman. When I fasted for peace, I wanted to start to combat these images with self-acceptance. I am 28 years old and battling to build inner peace within myself. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a teenager and constantly be surrounded by social media and advertisements that make you question who you are and how you need to change. It makes me think about how difficult it must be for youth to try and build peace in their community when they are struggling with their identity.

I hope that our community can help young women and men feel safe enough to be themselves and love who they are. That is the first step to building peace.

Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.

Visit us on:
On Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/seasonof.peacebuilding
On Twitter: @RAW_BAM
On Instagram: Life_Academy

Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty

By Rowan Driscoll, Life Academy Teacher

As a child of the farm, food security was never an issue. We sat down as a family almost every night.  As I approached my fast, I was anxious that I would struggle and be unable to function.  I ate a huge breakfast and thought to myself, “waste not, want not”.

The first couple of hours were difficult because I was at home. We have lots of healthy snacks and I have such an ingrained habit to go graze on food from the refrigerator.  A couple of times I had to stop myself as the food was mid way to my mouth!

The most challenging aspect of the who fast was actually six hours into the fast on Saturday night.  My friends had invited me to a St. Patty’s day feast and at the time I accepted, I had forgotten about the conflicting obligation.  The fact was that when I arrived they asked if I was going to remain true to my fast.  They’re good people who live in Oakland and they knew what the fast was about, but they still pushed me to join them in eating.  “Nobody will know!”, is what they told me.  The pressure to give in was very disconcerting but I held my position and continued my fast.  It was awkward to maintain that integrity in front of hosts who had spent so much time preparing delicious treats. I realize now how hard it is for some people to do the right thing and not perpetuate violence when their peers are encouraging the wrong behavior.

Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.

Visit us on:
On Face Book: http://www.facebook.com/seasonof.peacebuilding
On Twitter: @RAW_BAM
On Instagram: Life_Academy