For the duration of 2 weeks, from Tuesday, February 28th until Tuesday March 14th (my 39th bday), I'll be conducting a hunger strike and subsequent sleep-in. I have arrived at this end due to a few things, but most importantly, because of the complacency of both the people in this city who say they care, and the government that we know doesn't care.
When I completed my 10 day fast a few weeks ago, I came to realize even deeper the privilege that I, and many of us, hold. When it comes to the basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, many of us are more privileged than we'd like to think. I sat in my kitchen, dressed warmly, preparing to break my fast with some organic blackberries and fresh pressed celery juice. As I bit into the blackberry, an emotion came over me and I spit the blackberry out. It ended up taking 5 minutes and a face full of tears for me to break my fast with that blackberry. Man. It was crazy. I began feeling the pain and sadness of the millions of people who want and need nutritious food , but don't have it. I was feeling the pain of the parents who sacrifice eating so their children can eat, and the children who don't eat because their parents can't afford to feed them sometimes. This is so real. It's deeper still. People are sleeping out in the cold, with inadequate clothing, and many of us walk on by without truly working to shift this reality in the most efficient way possible.
As well, I am fully aware of how the many struggles are connected. The struggle for not only food, but high quality food, is directly connected to the peace movement, and the housing justice movement is directly connected to the health movement, which is directly connected to the prison industrial complex and mass incarceration, which is connected to the inequities in education and the fight for fare wages and better economic opportunities. Man. The rabbit hole runs so, so deep. So, I'll be addressing these varying issues during my hunger strike and sleep-in, and pointing to the old D.O.E. building in Long Island City (44-36 Vernon Blvd) as a solution to the many issues we face right here in our backyard. We have a solid organization - Western Queens Community Land Trust - that has put together a comprehensive plan for how the massive 600,000sq. ft building can be used to alleviate so many issues for so many people in an almost instantaneous matter of time.
This is the most extreme action I've ever taken. I'm ready to push the needle forward on these varying issues that impact me, and the many people I love, daily. I'll be addressing/highlighting 14 key issues/points that matter to me.
During this time, I'll only be drinking water, coconut water, and fruit & vegetable juice.
There are many ways you all can support me in this. One way is by sharing this message and coming out to join me for some time on one of the days. Also, monetary donations matter so I can keep the necessary supplies needed to endure this feat and continue my revolutionary work in this way. You can send donations via my website or directly through cashapp ($SugaRay4506) or PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you all for the support up to this point and all the support to come. I love ya'll. I love us! We will rise!!! By any means necessary!
Scroll further down to see the 14 Points of Justice for this demonstration.
Lashawn "Suga Ray" Marston
14 Points of Justice
1. Extreme hunger and malnourishment
4. Political corruption
5. Police terrorism and brutality
6. Public housing crisis
8. Youth programming and development
10. Public education crisis
11. Universal basic income
12. Protect nature and the environment
13. Women's rights
14. Mass incarceration
The list of issues to address and highlight can go on forever. It is my thinking, that through raising awareness on any one particular issue, other issues that are connected to it, that may not be known, will be addressed as a byproduct.
*Stay tuned for a comprehensive breakdown of the 14 Points of Justice*