Fasting for Peace – Day Thirty-Six

By Suneal Kolluri, Life Academy Teacher

Suneal Kolluri, Life Academy Humanities teacher, fasted on 2/20/12.

At first, it didn’t seem clear to me as to why not eating helped decrease violence in our city. As a resident of Oakland, however, the gunshots I hear too regularly render me wholeheartedly committed to this cause. So whether or not it made sense at first, on February 20th at 12:30, I decided to stop eating for peace.

At 12:20, I had just finished making tostadas. I had ten minutes to eat as many as I could. Oh boy, did I eat those tostadas quickly. At 12:30 exactly, I had beans all over my face that I was not allowed to put in my mouth. That was pretty tough, especially since I make such delicious beans.  That wasn’t the toughest part of the fast, however. The hardest part was my inability to get any work done for my classes from about 5 PM to about 9PM. I really needed to get work done, but everything I saw looked like a burrito. I couldn’t work. Then around 8 PM, I fed my dogs. I was really jealous of them because they seemed to be enjoying their food so much. It took all of my strength not to lick the spoon that I used to serve them their delicious lamb mush.

It was also during this time, however, that I did the majority of my reflection. What’s beautiful about the fast is that times of struggle can often teach us the most about ourselves: both our present and our past. The forced struggle made me think most about Indian revolutionary Mahatma Gandhi, who went on numerous hunger strikes to end oppression in India. As I fasted, I admired, more than I ever had before, the strength that it must have taken to starve oneself, almost to death, for a worthy cause. While I was nowhere near death, I had a greater understanding of what some of my own personal heroes endured for future generations. It is thoughts like these and the opportunity to share those thoughts with a caring community that can truly bring substantial change to our community. I am so proud to have been part of the Season of Peace movement, and I am confident that the connections that have been built through shared experience and reflection will make Oakland a better place to live.

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

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