By Annie Hatch, Life Academy Teacher
When I embarked upon my fast, I figured 24 hours would be no biggie. But by dinner time I was already feeling shaky and weak and a little nervous. I have been known to faint when my blood is drawn or when I have low blood sugar, so I immediately began picturing dramatic and embarrassing scenes which involved me passing out in front of my entire class while teaching the next day. Some friends of mine even encouraged me to cheat a little because they were worried about me and told me I was “already a good person.” When I felt like giving up, I did some research on all the people who often go hungry— not because of choice but because they have to. According to worldhunger.org, there are about 925 million hungry people in the world. 16,000 children died from hunger-related causes during the period of my fast alone. Conflict and violence are actually huge contributors to hunger— displaced people, refugees, and those struggling to survive in places affected by violence make up a startlingly large percentage of the hungry people in the world.
For me, the statement “I pledge to find the beauty in and empathize with everyone” was more on my mind than any other. How would it feel to be as hungry as I am now but be completely unsure when or where your next meal would come from? What would it be like to find your choices and opportunities limited simply because of the lack of food in your belly? I know I often take my quality of life— and all the great food I eat— for granted. Sometimes empathy is challenging… but this fast gave me the opportunity to empathize with those who aren’t as lucky as I am. It also pushed me to think about the consequences of my privilege… what will I do with it? How will I use what I have been given to make a difference?
Today also happens to be Fred Korematsu day. Korematsu was a Japanese American and a citizen of the United States living his life in Oakland when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. When he and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were told to leave their homes, businesses, and friends behind in order to evacuate to an internment camp, Korematsu simply refused. His refusal may seem like a trivial or meaningless act, but it had huge consequences. Korematsu was eventually sent to a relocation camp and then became ensnared in a long and frustrating legal battle. He did all this in order to stand by his principles and ask the United States to live up to the principles it was founded on. How does this relate to our relay fast? Well, while some people may regard fasting for peace as a small act that could not have any real consequences, Korematsu’s legacy teaches us that that is simply not true. We must continue fighting for what we know is right— in whatever way we can.
Please comment on this post if you supported today’s faster or fasted in solidarity with our movement.
Visit us on: