A Walk of Solidarity
Yesterday I participated in the walk for hunger for the 2nd year in a row. Truth be told, last year I only made it 10.5 miles. This year I’m proud to say that I walked the whole 20 miles. After about the 10 mile mark, with every mile that I passed, I felt as though my body aged another decade. And so I creeped over the finish line and proceeded to slip into a coma last night.
But I finished!
And in all seriousness, I hold this walk as a really important act. It is important not only for the money it raises each year–money that translates into meals for thousands of hungry Massachusetts’ families–it is important also for the position of solidarity that it places us in. We walk together, we stand together, for those who go hungry every day. Because the simple fact is: hunger is wrong.
Yes, I may complain of the blisters on my feet, what feel like senior citizen pains in my legs, and my general soreness from the walk; but I know nothing of the pain of hunger. I know nothing of the pain of not being able to feed myself or the pain of not being able to feed my children. The fact that I have plenty of food to eat, places me in a position of privilege. And so this walk is a small act of solidarity.
We live in a country and in a world of plenty. And yet, so many starve each year. That is an injustice. And I think it is an important one for those of us who do not go hungry, to acknowledge. That is what really makes this act, of walking together, so significant to me. I think it’s easy for us to forget the privileges we have in life; the ability to go to the grocery store and buy pretty much whatever I want, the ability to pay a staff of people to cook and serve me at a restaurant, the clean water we (usually) have on demand on tap, and always have access to in a bottle. It’s so easy to take these things for granted – I know I fall into that trap. It’s easy to say, “well I can’t afford to go to that restaurant though”, “I can’t afford to shop at that store though”, “I can’t afford to buy that though.” Just fill in the blank. I feel like the more I have, the more I want.
Breaking that cycle – opening ourselves up to that level of awareness, can be tough. Fact is, if you are reading this on a computer you own, with a fridge in your kitchen containing food waiting to be eaten, you are wealthier than the majority of people on this planet. But how often do we think in those terms? I think maybe it is easier to see what we don’t have, than to see what you do have. To be in solidarity with those who do not have food, is to acknowledge and own our privileges; at which point I believe we need to act, in the name of justice, to help those who do not share in those privileges.
So that’s why I walked. That’s why this is important to me. That’s why my damn feet kill with every step I take today.