Closing The Hunger Gap Solidarity Statement
At the 2015 Closing the Hunger Gap conference held in Portland, Oregon with more than 600 people representing food access organizations from all 50 states and Canada, a statement was developed and adopted that has served as a foundation for the network’s vision of a world free of hunger.
Racial injustice and privilege are at the root of economic injustice.
Economic injustice is the root cause of hunger.
The only way to end hunger is to end racial injustice.
Five years later as we witness and participate in the amplification of voices responding to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others, and to the ongoing violence, suppression, and brutality facing the Black community; as we witness and participate in demanding the end of state-sanctioned violence in Black communities and calling for justice and collective liberation; as we witness and participate in the mobilization of people taking to the streets in urban areas and rural townships in the U.S. and across the world; we are called to re-center our foundational statement that there will be no end to hunger without ending racial injustice.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 million people in the United States were struggling to put food on their tables, with Black households in the majority and more than double the rate of white households experiencing hunger. Close to 40 million households necessarily relied on private non-profit food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens to meet their monthly household food needs, even with a majority of those households having at least one adult working full-time. Again, the vast majority of the people of color who live in poverty, do so at more than double the rate of whites. Since the beginning of March more than 40 million people have applied for unemployment benefits, sending organizations and institutions scrambling to meet the nutritional needs of an exponential number of families — many of whom were joining the mile-long line of folks standing outside of a stadium waiting to be handed a pre-packed bag of emergency groceries; others idling in 3-mile long lines of cars creeping toward the San Antonio Food Bank or the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne, PA, among others.
Closing the Hunger Gap, a network of 185 food access organizations and growing, recognizes the critical and necessary work of these organizations serving the most vulnerable in their communities during these unprecedented times. And we continue to stand by our shared analysis, especially as food insecurity is rising and deepening due to the pandemic, that private charity will not end hunger and should never be the main response.
Hunger is a complex issue. But it will never be eradicated without addressing the underlying interwoven structural issues of race and economic inequality. To end hunger we must add the human right to nutritious food to the policies and practices needed to bend the moral arc of our society towards justice. There will be no food justice without racial justice. There will be no racial justice without economic justice.
Closing the Hunger Gap stands in solidarity with Black communities everywhere and seeks to participate in growing an intersectional movement rooted in a culture of collaboration and learning that centers anti-racism, while decentering white dominant culture, and that builds the world we want to live in by practicing mutual aid. Specifically, we commit to growing our network and working collectively to:
- Build and support a grassroots effort of hunger relief organizations to shift from a charity model to a social justice model. Check out our 8-Point Checklist for Organizational Transformation.
- Build a national presence to promote a collective voice of organizations and their constituents calling for food to be recognized as a human right.
- Support grassroots movements led by the people most impacted by the root causes of poverty and hunger.
As the nation rises up to protest atrocities against Black people, here are some organizations working to advance Black food sovereignty that you can support. Click here to see the full list from Civil Eats.
Additionally, we can promote healing in Black communities by:
- Taking action for justice for Breonna Taylor
- Contributing to the official George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Contributing to the fund for Ahmaud Arbery
- Contributing to the National Bail Out Fund
- Supporting Black Lives Matter Movement