July 7th: Aarti

Soul Food

Hunger striking. I know Gandhi and King did it. Brave youth organizing
for the right to live at home also did it (see DREAM Act campaign). So
did the last man I visited in jail. Javier was an inmate in Arizona’s
Tent City – a jail mis-managed by Joe Arpaio, self-styled “America’s
Toughest Sheriff.” Javier was 1 among 1,800. lemme repeat: EIGHTEEN
HUNDRED, who in May 2009 protested for just one edible meal a day.
Sheriff Joe makes it a point to feed his prisoners expired green bologna
and leave them to rot under the blazing desert sun. He’s turned Phoenix,
America’s 5th largest city, into a virtual jail for any immigrant
walking the streets. At this moment, his officers are arresting a Brown
driver for a “broken taillight.” They’ll score a deportation from the
racial profiling.

Javier, Tent City, Phoenix – they all come to mind in the last minutes
of my first fast. I am honored to say that today, July 7th 2009, is the
first day I have ever given up food to strengthen struggle. I am honored
to say that I did it for love of Roxroy, a man who was a great father
before I met him, and who I have witnessed become a community leader in
the truest sense of the word: rather than close doors and raise walls
around his personal suffering, he’s opened his life to scrutiny and
support. They always come hand in hand, struggle is a risk. But Roxroy
knows that through him, those of us who seek truth can find light. And
he gives those of us who want justice an opportunity to channel our
power into a test of will and law. It’s funny: I see the campaign to
free Roxroy as a campaign to save ourselves, in the deepest sense. To
nurture the elements that make life worth living.

Fasting is hard work. I gotta be honest. Today I wanted a chocolate
brownie by 11am. I opened the refrigerator 3 times. I touched a pepper
more longingly that I’ve ever touched a person. I salivated. What gave
me the strength to get through it? Breathing, conversations with other
Movement leaders, and a healthy dose of joy. If I can do this, I am
ready to kick it up. I thank Roxroy for this opportunity to align mind,
body and soul. I look forward to the escalation. Round 2, bring it.

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