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.

Emira Woods. Nearly 50 women gathered for the Pan-African Women of Faith Global Strategy Consultation in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 9, 2018. Lacey Johnson for Bread for the World.

Act Now

Coronavirus Response

  • Call (800-826-3688) or email your members of Congress andurge them to address growing hunger amid the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening safety-net programs and investing in nutrition at home and abroad, including Summer EBT, SNAP, WIC, Child Tax Credit, and global nutrition programs.
  • Globally, hundreds of millions of people are on the brink of starvation. And levels of U.S hunger are now higher than during the Great Depression.

For more information on this issue:

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

Regional Webinars

This year’s Offering of Letters will span four topics—food systems, climate change, economic justice, and racial and gender equity. Hundreds of Offerings are held each year, resulting in tens of thousands of letters to Congress. Supported with prayer, these letters are a bold witness to God’s justice and mercy.

To learn about the topics, how your church, campus or community can be involved, and to connect with your organizer and fellow Bread members, register for an update in your region. Please note the time zones.

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
Thursday, March 18 at 4 p.m. (ET)
Register here.

East Regional Webinar

CT, DE, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT
Hosted by Margaret Tran
Wednesday, March 10 at 4 p.m. (ET)
Register here.

Midwest Regional Webinar

IA, IL, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI
Hosted by Nicole Schmidt and Zach Schmidt
Tuesday, March 9 at 1 p.m. (ET)
Register here.

Southwest Regional Webinar

AZ, NM, OK, TX
Hosted by Lupe Conchas
Friday, March 12 at 12 p.m. (MT)
Register here.

West Regional Webinar

AK, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Hosted by Clark Hansen
Tuesday, March 9 at 1 p.m. (PT)
Register here.

We encourage you to register for your regional update 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