Giving Thanks in Challenging Times

November 13, 2018

At this time of year our thoughts start turning to holiday celebrations, family, and friends. Who is going to be sitting around our holiday tables, and will we manage to cultivate a respite of civility and love from the political polarization that has beset our nation? 

This year, especially over the last few weeks, we at Utahns Against Hunger have been thinking and talking a lot about the state of our democracy; the violence being played out in marginalized communities, the racist demonization and fearmongering around immigration, and the actions of those who would seek to do harm to people with whom they have political disagreements. Can our country survive this divisiveness? Can we find in ourselves and each other the courage to stand against hate?

Our answer is yes, but we believe we need to lean into the issues that are dividing us. We must stand up and make clear that we, as individuals and organizations, will not accept leaders who encourage us to be divided. We must speak out to protect those who are marginalized, and oppose any measures that harm refugees, the elderly, communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, and immigrants.

Hatred and violence against those with whom we disagree is wholly unacceptable. Anti-Semitism and racism are toxic and destructive ideologies that have no place in our country. Combating these issues are matters of social justice, and as an anti-hunger organization, we believe that standing up for all of our neighbors is imperative to our mission.

Sharing food is one of the most fundamental ways we enact community. The word 'companion' combines 'com' meaning together/with, and 'panis,’ the Latin word for bread. And so, hunger too is a form of marginalization and division. Lacking access to food diminishes the health and well-being of individuals and the communities in which they belong. When we accept that there are people who go without food in our communities, we are abdicating our responsibility to create a more inclusive, less divisive, and more just world. It is UAH’s mission to stand up for the most marginalized and vulnerable among us, to defend and protect their access to food, and to make our community a welcoming place for all.

So, as you plan and prepare for your holidays, it is our hope that you will hold a place for those who have too little, and that you will join Utahns Against Hunger in actively opposing a Farm Bill that will make it harder for thousands of Utahns to qualify for SNAP (food stamps), and a draconian ‘public charge’ rule that will increase poverty and hunger in immigrant communities. 

Thank you for helping us make Utah a better place for all.

UAH Staff & Board

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash