MAZON Commemorates Juneteenth, Recommits to Equity in the Fight to End Hunger

June 17, 2022

This weekend marks Juneteenth, the oldest nationally-celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, which President Biden declared a federal holiday last year. MAZON joins communities around the country in celebrating this important move toward freedom, while also recognizing that long-standing systemic racism persists in America to this day.

Abby J. Leibman, MAZON’s President and CEO, said:

“We must acknowledge the shameful reality that hunger — like many other forms of inequity — is exacerbated and perpetuated by systemic racism. We know that historically marginalized communities, including Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, are often overlooked by lawmakers and by the media — too often, coverage focuses on how charity programs temporarily keep hunger at bay, while overlooking the need to strengthen safety net programs and address the systemic issues and root causes of hunger.

“Federal nutrition programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) must be central to any discussions about America’s hunger crisis, but even these programs enable and perpetuate inequity. The fact that SNAP is administered at the state level means the ability to feed your family can be profoundly different depending on the state in which you live. We are too aware that such disparities among states mean that Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color are disproportionately vulnerable to cruel policies — often motivated by racial animus — that limit their access to life-saving nutrition assistance.

“The upcoming White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health provides an important opportunity to understand and address systemic solutions to racial injustice. Next year’s reauthorization of the Farm Bill presents another critical moment to enact policy changes that reflect our Jewish values of tzedek (pursuing justice) and b’tselem Elohim (respecting the inherent dignity of every person). MAZON is committed to fighting for freedom, justice, equity, and opportunity for Black, Indigenous, and all other people of color in this country.”