Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Thinking Global, Acting Local

Wow, wow, wow! What a great day. Today marks are third day of facilitating outings for CEO kids summer camp, and this was perhaps our most ambitious day yet.

At 10am this morning we had several folks from Food Not Bombs(FNB) join us along with six youth participants(11-15 years old). The FNB folks had prepared a brief talk on what they do and why they do it. There was a group discussion on the priorities set by our federal budget, and the root causes of homelessness and poverty. For FNB sharing free vegetarian meals is a way protest to war, poverty, oppression, and social injustice.

After a group discussion everyone participated in preparing a really big meal. It was clear that all of the youth participants were enthusiastic about helping chop veggies, stir fry food, and do all the other tasks required to pull off a large meal.

Then it was time to pack everything up and head to Hurt park in Downtown Atlanta. There we were greeted by Balewa Alimayu, director of the Homeless and Incarcerated Veterans Program, and several of the folks he works with. We set up the food and shared it with everyone in the park.

After we all had a stomach full of delicious food we made a sharing circle, Balewa introduced several veterans to the group. Each veteran was courageous enough to share their struggle, not only with surviving a combat zone, but the struggle surviving coming home from a war zone.

The message was driven home over and over again, articulated in several different ways but different people: We need to invest in our communities, not war.

With multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts, record home foreclosures, drastic education budget cuts, MARTA cuts, and cuts to the public sector in general, FNB's message really resonated with everyone. For every bomb, every young person recruited and deployed, every community destroyed overseas, ever dollar spent on military aid, represents a robbery of our communities here, in our time of need.

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

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