Sunday, April 14, 2013

lds/eqat fast for mountaintop justice

ingrid at a mountain top removal protest in west virginia.
i've long been inspired by ingrid's commitment to action for change.  this sunday she organized a fast in solidarity with eqat and the people of west virginia to bring an end to mountain top removal coal mining.

a few thoughts came to my mind as i participated in today's fast:

1) why is fasting effective?  in the mormon tradition, we fast once a month and give the money we would have spent on meals to feed the hungry.  it's a very pragmatic approach with a direct correlation between going hungry and feeding the hungry.  mormons also fast for miracles and guidance:  for inspiration to make a tough decision, for a cure to illness or sorrow, or on behalf of others they know are suffering.  in other traditions, fasting can call attention to an injustice, or be an act of devotion towards god.  i kept thinking of claims i've heard while practicing yoga, that the practice of yoga makes one a more peaceful person, therefore rippling peace out into the world.  i thought about how fasting changes the individual participant, and the power of collective fasting. this ghandi quote came to mind: The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.

2) miracles.  sometimes i feel discouraged about the ability of my actions to create change in the world.  oftentimes i give up. i read these words about fasting in the lds hymnal today, and felt inspired about the act of witnessing, gathering, and believing in miracles:  as witnesses, we gather here to thank and to attest, of mercies and of miracles. . . feed thou our souls, fill thou our hearts, and bless our fast we pray.

3) i thought about something i saw on a protest video against coal-top mining.  in it, some locals descried the participation of "outsiders" coming to protest an issue in their community.  i could see how it would feel weird.  on the other hand, when people tell you not to speak because you're an "outsider," you have to start wondering what's going on with "insiders", and why they are resistant to transparency.  two quotes came to mind, first, the famous quote from martin luther king, jr.: injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. and also this quote from judy bonds, the so-called godmother of mountain top removal activism who said: if coal is so good for us hillbillies, then why are we so poor?  (also, bonds is a shero of mine.  she found herself in mid-life and accomplished a tremendous work before her untimely death.)

i've been inspired by ingrid's example, and by hearing about the work of eqat, and also renewed today in my commitment to fasting.

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