The Great Lunch Boycott of 1996



Day 4 – A time to speak or the Great Lunch Boycott of 1996


I really enjoy a good protest. Not unnecessary protest, mind you, but there is a whole lotta joy in standing up for something you really believe in. I feel like it’s a blessing to be a part of the process.

When I was a junior in high school, I was involved in my first large group protest. It was a quiet but mighty protest, which strikes me as maybe the best kind. And it all started around a school lunch table.

School lunch menus and nutrition were not the activist’s dream team that they are today. Back in my day, because I’m so old evidently ;), there were squares on a lunch tray that were filled with what they served or you could bring what you would like. That was it. Pass the tray, pick it up, or pack your lunch. This worked for me most of the time… until the day I wanted an apple.

Apples, yum! Who doesn’t love ’em?! An apple was $1.00. I could buy a Snickers bar for $.50 at the student council store 4 steps away…hmmmm, what to do, what to do. You can guess the terrible health decisions that occurred based on this ridiculousness. And for some students, who had limited funds and no access to healthy food otherwise, I became incensed. So did a few of my other lunch table cohorts and so the wheels of change began to turn with a handful of high school students.

We organized a large and successful lunch boycott. This was so life changing for me, stepping up, in a massive way, and refusing to overlook injustice (laugh if you will), that I wrote about it in my entrance essay for graduate school. My early social work self relished that moment when my principal called us into his office and said, “Shut down the boycott, or you’ll find yourselves suspended.” Ok. Just try me.

The next week, “You’ll get suspended” turned into “what do you want.”

I want a world where apples are served in one of my squares. I want edible green stuff on another square. I want Thanksgiving lunch more than once a year. I want…
wait for it…a salad bar.”

What my requests really meant were,
I want to be listened to.
I want to be valued.
I want my opinion to not just matter, but have an impact.”

Girls, we have a God who says, “Yes! You are worth listening to. You are valued. Your opinion matters. You have an eternal impact.”

And all this about stuff that matters so much more than what sits on my lunch tray…
Topics like 
abortion
destructive sexual relationships
abuse
human trafficking
poverty
violence
prejudice
hate

And more…I could list more! 

God’s work is done when we bring light to the dark places, and often that means speaking up, speaking out, and speaking with.

Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us –
Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.


Ephesians 4:15 simply says –
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

In addition, check out:
Psalm 82:3
Isaiah 1:17
Zechariah 7:9-10

These are all verses that ask us to stand against oppression, to stand against the darkness, and to speak for justice.
We can speak because we have someone who pleads for us every day – Jesus Christ. He intercedes for us, forgives us, and renews us for every good work. He is the voice of the voiceless in the heavenly places and through us on earth. It’s just so praise worthy.

All to You, Lord. All to You.
Lord, speak through your children. Use me. Direct me. Mold me to be ever speaking Your Truth, in Your love, to Your people. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Discussion questions:
What topic do you feel most passionate to speak up about?
What avenues do you think go unnoticed when it is time to speak up?
What pitfalls and benefits come with speaking up on social media?

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