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Fasting in Solidarity | Leland Fellows

18 Apr Posted by in Tony Hall's Blog | Comments Off
Fasting in Solidarity | Leland Fellows

Below are short reflections from a few of the current class of Congressional Hunger Center’s Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program who are participating the fast as part of their commitment to become leader in the fight against hunger worldwide.

I think a little bit of solidarity is in order. Back in the heyday of socialism in India, Monday was “Miss-a Meal Day”. People were encouraged to skip a meal, restaurants were obligated by law to serve only one meal - either breakfast or dinner, and wedding parties couldn’t feed more than 50 guests. In a country where we place esteem on “doing big things” it’s important to support a call for a change in the scenario…a little bit of minimalism would be good for everyone. Conspicuous consumption is not an American value I wish to perpetuate despite what it means economically. I hope everyone takes the time to join this effort and support Tony Hall. If not for him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. -Curan Bonham, 5th Class Leland Fellow


I decided to join this fast because I find it the best way to find solidarity with hungry people and others working on their behalf, but also because it provides an opportunity for personal reflection on hunger and inequality. I fasted for the month of Ramadan while living and working in Mali, and even though difficult, it stands out in my mind as one of the most rewarding personal experiences during my time there as a Leland Fellow. This time around, I’ve decided to give up dinners. I wish that I could give up more - but the fact that I can choose not to for health, energy, and productivity reasons further drives home the fact that so many people, both here in the US and abroad, don’t have that choice. I’ve never gone to bed hungry on a regular basis before, and now, two and a half weeks in, I am accustomed to the feeling but it has not become any easier. Abstaining from food at dinners with friends and family have also provided an opportunity to talk more in depth about misunderstandings surrounding funding devoted to food aid and foreign assistance. -Kerri Agee, 5th Class Leland Fellow


I became a hunger fellow because I believe that food is such a basic necessity and helping people meet this need is an obvious starting point to bettering the world. Conflicting budgetary priorities are one thing, but for it to be at the expense of 18 million people who will otherwise go hungry,
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is absurd. In my personal hunger fast, I am eating a lot less, but also trying to experience hunger multiple times on a daily basis. When I would usually eat, I don’t. I am trying to remember the cause we work for and to stand in solidarity with those who have no option to eat when they are hungry. -Emily Wei, 5th Class Leland Fellow


I fasted to force myself to confront in a visceral way the horror of hunger and to have a physical reminder, if only for a few hours a day, of my responsibility to those who live this horror. -Emily Byers, Co-Director, Leland International Fellows Program

The Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) is one of the enduring legacies of Ambassador Tony Hall’s 1994 water-only fast to protest the dissolution of the House Select Committee on Hunger.

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