Activist Corner

Welcome to the Activist Corner. We update this page regularly with the latest information, tools, and resources, so make sure to visit weekly.

Photo: Bread for the World

Act Now

Coronavirus Response

  • Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress and urge them to pass a comprehensive COVID-19 relief package that includes assistance for families struggling with hunger, specifically to increase SNAP food benefits by at least 15 percent and invest $20 billion for the global response to COVID-19.
  • As hunger reaches historic levels amid the global pandemic, negotiations on a second stimulus package in Congress have stalled. Children and families can’t wait any longer.

For more information on this issue:

Watch for action alerts. For additional talking points, contact organizing@bread.org or call 800-822-7323.

Stay Informed

Regional Webinars in November

As we see hunger on the rise amid COVID-19, advocacy has never been more important. Register for the webinar in your region and receive an update on our advocacy campaign and what we have accomplished together this year. You will also be equipped with next steps you and your group can take in the final months of 2020.

And you will get to hear from and ask questions of our special guest, Bread for the World's new president Rev. Eugene Cho!

  • Southeast Regional Webinar (AL, AR, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, TN, VA, WV FL, NC, SC, DC)
    Hosted by Rev. David Street, Rosa Saavedra, and Florence French on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. (ET)
    NEW  View Recording
  • East Regional Webinar (CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT)
    Hosted by Margaret Tran on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. (ET)
    NEW  View Recording
  • Midwest Regional Webinar (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
    Hosted by Rev. Patricia Case, Nicole Schmidt, and Zach Schmidt on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m. (ET)
    NEW  View Recording
  • Southwest Virtual Town Hall with Rev. Eugene Cho (AZ, NM, OK, TX)
    Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. (CT)/5 p.m. (ET)
    Register here
  • West Regional Webinar (AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)
    Hosted by Clark Hansen and David Gist on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. (PT)
    NEW  View Recording

We encourage you to register for your regional webinar even if you are unable to attend. This ensures you will receive the recording and follow-up information.

If you have questions, contact organizing@bread.org or call 800-822-7323.

Activists in Action

Grow food, grow community

By Robin Stephenson and Rosa Saavedra

North Carolina farmer Jason Lindsay grows food, but that is not what makes his approach to farming unusual. His mission-focused style of cooperative farming aims to heal the Black community from the deep wounds inflicted by structural racism.

Lindsay, who lives in Oxford, is North Carolina’s network coordinator for Southeastern African American Farmers’ Organic Network (SAAFON), a network of small and heritage Black farmers. A former teacher, his journey to farming started a decade ago with a backyard garden, a passion for justice, and a connection to his agrarian heritage.

“Throughout the patterns of history where we have thrived, agriculture was always the foundation,” Lindsay said.

After the Civil War, many formerly enslaved people, without access to cash, credit systems, or land ownership, were forced into sharecropping—the practice where landowners allow planters to use land for a smaller share of the crop. The practice led to cycles of debt for Black farmers and contributed to the racial inequity we see in our food systems today.

Over time, some farmers broke free of the unjust system. Between 1870 and 1910, more than a million African Americans became farmers on their own land. However, land seizures and USDA discriminatory policies essentially wiped out Black farm ownership. Today, less than 1 percent of U.S. farms are owned by Blacks.

“Every time the Black farmer has gotten to a point in which we were thriving, intentional forces came against us to pull us down,” Lindsay said. The tragedy, for the educator turned farmer, wasn’t just the loss of the land, it was the fragmenting of the community.

Farming, especially farming in hostile conditions, required cooperation that bonded community members. Success depended on neighbor helping neighbor.

Farming is not an easy endeavor at the best of times. Lindsay learned early on that there is a lot of pressure to keep a farm going that leaves little space for experimentation. By networking through SAAFON and controlling their own marketplace, Black farmers are increasing self-sufficiency and solving problems is a collective effort.

“One farmer can’t hold the load of an entire region, but regional farmers can hold the load of the region, especially when it is connected to other regions that are doing the same thing,” Lindsay said.

COVID-19 is lifting the curtain on the fragility of the food systems—the entire process of production to consumption—and exposing the alarming consequences of racial inequity. African Americans are contracting and dying from COVID-19 at shocking and disproportionately higher rates than whites.

A strong immune system is key to surviving the coronavirus, making access to nutrition a vital resource during the pandemic.

“If you don’t have power in the food system, you are more likely going to be more vulnerable to conditions like hunger and malnutrition,” said Todd Post, editor of the 2020 Hunger Report: Better Nutrition, Better Tomorrow. The 2020 report outlines recommendations to increase equal protection under the law and build better food systems that are free of racial inequity.

Lindsay wants to make it clear that coronavirus is not creating new systems of injustice but exposing those already built in the system. Breaking the illusion that the grocery store can sustain the Black community and reconnecting the people to the land is part of the answer for him.

“We don’t have a food shortage problem; we have a logistics problem,” he said. “Once you put that farm system into place and it’s connected with the ecosystem that is balanced, there’s abundance—there is always more than you can eat.”

Robin Stephenson is senior manager for digital campaigns and Rosa Saavedra is a regional organizer. Both work at Bread for the World. 

More Resources: Activist Tool Kit

The Activist Tool Kit is intended for new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists. It provides a set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

It's ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists. Form your own toolkit by printing out some or all of the sheets in the kit.

How-tos:


Issues-related pieces:


Biblical resources:

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Please let us know what suggestions you have for this page and how we can assist you. Email us at organizing@bread.org or call 800-822-7323.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

For Advocacy

Faith

African at Heart

November 22, 2019

Insight

From the Blog