Monday, June 27, 2011

Food, Justice, Hope



Recently as we Unitarian Universalists seek to bring justice to the world through food, I have heard pain and discouragement regarding how much we wish for the well being of all humans and nonhumans, and how far off that dream of the beloved community seems. Even after the passing of the Ethical Eating SOC, or especially so.

I know intimately this despair regarding the challenges of nourishing a world, let alone my companions in Unitarian Universalism.  For the hope of offering support to you, I would like to offer these words. I was going to speak them from the “pro” plenary mike in support of the statement, but we ran out of time right before my turn. Here are those words, only slightly changed to account for a future not asking for the passing of the statement, but for the implementation of the statement.

 Hello. I am the Rev. LoraKim Joyner and I am a delegate from the UU Fellowship of Gainesville.  I come before you today as a Community Minister in Multispecies Ministry and Compassionate Communication. I have also served as the president of the UU Animal Ministry for 8 years and am their current Reverence for Life Coordinator.  I also enjoy serving on the Ethical Eating Core Team.  In addition, I am a wildlife veterinarian working largely in Latin American conservation. I say all this to let you know that I know how difficult it is for us to talk, and to take action on food.  We doubt that we can love enough to take care of all beings given what we perceive as a perponderance of needs and claims that compete with one another. 

They do not.

I have just come from 2.5 months working in Latin American to support environmental justice and conservation of birds.  The people there who live close to the land know that their well being is tied closely to the well being of animals. One group of indigenous people with whom I work, the Miskito people of Honduras, are literally dying to protect their wild birds, while they themselves do not have enough to eat.  To insure that they have enough to eat and can nourish their families, birds, and trees, they have opened their hearts to protect all life, together.  Everything is at risk they told me, and so they are willing to risk everything.

Their hearts are big enough.

Our hearts are big enough. 

The needs are urgent; there is no time to lose.

Everything is at risk.

So let us risk everything we can today.

Let’s implement this statement by using it as a tool to crank open our hearts so that the world can fall in and fill our lives with ever increasing love and compassion.

I and others remain dedicated to what is not just a 5 year Study Action Item process, but an effort that will span our lifetimes. 

We will find a way to breathe hope and justice into this statement, making it a living covenant with all of life.


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