Thursday, August 18, 2011

Freedom Rides' buses :: Food & Freedom Rides' van

The Freedom Riders rode in Greyhound buses down to the south. They all had a definite goal. Its as if these riders were color-blind, or rather, color-accepting, of each others' races. These buses were diamonds amongst the fields, and fifty years ago, those fields were full of violent hatred and outright discrimination. These buses were sacred spaces, bubbles of what these young Blacks and Whites wanted to see for themselves and the rest of the world. They stepped outside these buses, these sacred spaces, these bubbles with confidence, non-violence, and courage. They met resistance and allies, love and fear. They kept true to their convictions and truths.

And like the Freedom Riders of 1961, we found ourselves in a similar situation with our commemoration as Food & Freedom Riders. Our "chariot", a 15-passenger black Ford van and accompanying U-Haul, served as our sacred space and bubble from the food discrimination of industrial agriculture, acres upon acres of commodity crops, and food and social injustice we saw, heard and experienced. There were stops getting outside the van in which we met resistance, including the powers of Monsanto at their headquarters in St. Louis. Even at Monsanto's headquarters, we surprisingly met an uncommon ally; although, to a certain extent, I'm not entirely surprised because I have a lot of trust in people and people's compassion for the world. And there were stops with people who quickly became loving allies, with stories of food injustice and justice that I couldn't help but be in solidarity with, drawn to emotionally, and take action with. It is our convictions and our truths that expounded outside our van. And it is the stories we heard and felt, the food system alternatives we saw, and the shared values among the human race that keep me strong.

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