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World Food Day 2023: Do, Lord, Remember Black Lives

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Do, Lord, do, Lord, do remember me.

When I’m dyin’, do remember me.

When I’m in trouble, do remember me.

When this world’s on fire, do remember me.

O do, Lord, remember me.

In the early 1800s, during the enslavement period of millions of Africans and Africans in diaspora—not only in the United States, but globally—these words were penned as a Negro spiritual. The spiritual asked the Lord to not forget them and to join them in their righteous fight for liberation. Some people who were not enslaved said yes to joining the fight, while most did not.

Pan African peoples are still extending this invitation. Pan African peoples understand they are disproportionately affected by hunger and food insecurity. Historic inequities furthered by the wrath of racism, conflict, climate and illnesses like COVID have further contributed to this.

In recent weeks, we are mindful of the thousands of lives lost because of flooding in the North African nation of Libya. And more than 3,000 people are reported to have died from the recent earthquake in Morocco. Since 1996, conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has led to approximately six million deaths. The ongoing conflict has disrupted agricultural activities, thereby limiting access to nutritious food, particularly for children who are displaced. Haiti has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world.

Since the enslavement period, discriminatory policies and practices have led African peoples to be more likely to live in poverty and more likely to face unemployment. African peoples have fewer financial resources like savings or property than their white counterparts. All these factors increase someone’s likelihood of experiencing hunger. According to the USDA, in 2021 nearly 20% of Black individuals lived in a food insecure household. Black people are almost three times more likely to face hunger than white individuals.

The World Food Programme reports that there are 400 trillion dollars worth of wealth on the earth today, while 9 million people die from hunger every year.

Following World Food Day this Oct. 16, these numerical trends and events disturb us, but we also find hope in the remembrances and celebrations of the lives behind the numbers. Hope is also found in our prayers and advocacy actions. To advocate for the Farm Bill, please visit Bread for the World’s Offering of Letters webpage.

You are invited to remember, to advocate and to recite the Prayer of Remembrance by Rev. Dr. Deolinda Teca from Angola (from the 2019 Bread Pan African Devotional):

“O God of mercy and love, teach us, like Nehemiah and the disciples of Christ, to love our neighbor. Give us the strength to work with and for those who suffer from the strange fruits of wars, conflicts, hunger, and social injustices. Amen.”

Angelique Walker-Smith is senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church engagement at Bread for the World.

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