Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty-Seven

By Najely Gomez, Senior

Najely Gomez (left), Life Academy senior and RAM member, fasted on 2/21/12.

The moment I received the armband, I automatically felt honored to be part of this intriguing community of the “Season of Peace-Building”. This fast relay should not be just set as one day to build peace but in people’s everyday lives. I believe that a change starts off by someone being motivated to create awareness and dedication.

Through this fast relay, I began to recognize the place I come from. I come from Oakland. Not just plain Oakland, but a place where I would only hear people say that “Oakland is a very dangerous place where many youth die every day from Oakland notorious crimes.” I won’t deny this because it is true. Many youth my own age die from shootings, murders, etc. However, many youth do not evidently choose to live a life full of struggles. They are influenced through the acts they see around others. Anyone can change themselves and distinguish between what is right and wrong.

I decided that through fasting just one simple day I would feel that I am creating a change. I am immersing myself to change this current generation and future generations to come. I want to be set as an example to many youth in Oakland and aspire them that there are other alternative roads and not only one that many are force to follow. In addition, violence shouldn’t be set as an action but as abstain. Families should not be destroyed nor suffer but live in peace and in harmony. Building peace can initiate many positive aspects that will generate a new life for those who were caught in the wrong direction.

Throughout this fasting relay, I began to reflect of my cousin’s situation. Back in 2005, I can still mesmerize the day when my cousin was arrested because of Oakland’s violence. He was caught right in front of my home without realizing how that very moment it would not only impact me emotionally but my whole family as well. Now that he has served 6 years in prison, I came across wanting to show my cousins, friends, and peers that life shouldn’t be ended through violence. I work hard to maintain not only that 4.0 honor roll but to be a role model to students in my school. Being a role model to them, can change them to becoming students who want to make a change in their own lives by graduating from high school and going to college.

I did not only reflect on Oakland and on my cousin’s issue, but I also fasted because I wanted to realize what it was like not eating a whole day.  It was definitely a different transition, because I did not follow my everyday routine of eating breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Now that it is 7:56 pm I am in the mood of eating at least a fruit, but no because I am dedicated to this commitment and I am proud of doing. This I can connect back to those people in underprivileged countries that do not even have a piece of bread to eat or clean water to drink. It saddens me to realize that many places around the world people are dying from starvation. This should not be happening to the world where gaps are created between rich and poor people. Poor people should have the same equality as people who live in urban areas. More than anything, this reflection has made me realize that I want to ameliorate Oakland’s violent situation and not see the same Oakland we are used to seeing.

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

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Edited By: Yuvitza Rivera, Sophomore, and Eva Oliver, RAW Co-Coach

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