By: Adam Moss, Counsellor with the Wright Institute
I felt it a great privilege to have the opportunity to participate in my 24 hour shift of the 75 day relay fast with the students, faculty, and community of Life Academy. It was a challenging day for me, consistently confronted by physical discomfort and having discussions with my community about the violence that the family of Life Academy faces both directly and indirectly on a daily basis.
During my fast, I clearly felt a great hunger for food, I listened with compassion to my growling, aching stomach. However, I also listened to the growling and aching of my heart, which did so with much greater fierceness. The most powerful hunger I witnessed in myself was a hunger for peace.
I adopted the “I statement” created by BAM and RAW that inspired my focus on my own relationships both on and off the campus. This was a profound intent for me to hold as I felt a great deal of grumpiness as I grew weary at the end of my day. I thought of how easy it would have been to be snappy or impatient with those I related to. Moving beyond my own discomfort, and focusing on my intent to be compassionate and loving in all of my relations was a powerful practice for me on my fast day. It struck me as a critical first step in moving away from violence and towards peace, on a personal as well as communal level.
Thank you to the community of Life Academy, and especially the students and faculty involved in BAM and RAW for creating this powerful experience. May our community move towards greater peace and love for all.
By: Guicela Sanchez, Sophomore
During my fast, I wanted flavors in my mouth. But, I remembered that I wasn’t the only one suffering; other people out there in the world were suffering even more. Some people don’t even know how a piece of gum or candy tastes. I realized that I am fortunate for the things I have and that I have people supporting me during my fast. The fast gave me time to reflect and appreciate life.
During my fast, I had to go to FACES (my internship) in the afternoon, and it was hard to ignore my hunger because in the afternoon I usually eat a lot of delicious food. While I was ignoring my hunger, I was reflecting on how other poor people don’t eat because they don’t have a job or money. That must be very painful for them.
Fasting for 24 hours was difficult, but it was worth it because the pain of my hunger made me think about the pain of life. For example, I thought about the pain our community feels when we hear about someone losing a loved one due to violence. That’s more painful than fasting for one day!
The “I-Statement” that I chose to reflect on was: “I pledge to defend others who cannot defend themselves.” During my fast and having this statement running through my head all day, I felt that we should pay more attention to the people around us in order to show them that we care. I have committed myself to letting people know that everyone should have the chance to live a good life and to not be afraid of anything.
The Season of Peace-Building is important because it shows that the youth of Oakland (and of Life Academy more specifically) are willing to take a stand for our community. We show this by fasting and spreading the word around different schools. We all know that it will not stop the violence, but this is the way to show the people around our community that we are care and that we are not just sitting around and waiting for the violence to stop. Instead, we, the youth of Life Academy, are taking actions to make the world a better place.
Edited By: Eva Oliver, RAW Co-Coach, and Yuvitza Rivera, Sophomore