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SPRING FOR LIFE CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED WITH VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE DIALOGUE, REFLECTIONS AND POETRY

Spring for life

“Twenty years of Spring for life

We know this year isn’t the same

Very different and far away

But still, we spring

Even in a virtual circle

So much history, so many years

So much struggle and reflection

A reading of life

There are no beans this year

But there’s surely sharing,

So much hunger

Growing every day”

 

This poem was written by Joice Santana (Caritas Brazil Northeast Regional 3) and recited during the live streaming event held on Wednesday 30 September, sweetly but critically weaving together the richness and shared knowledge at the launch of the 20th Spring for Life Campaign.  The beginning of the new season was crowned with a virtual round table dialogue on the theme “The people’s hunger and God’s kingdom of sharing in times of pandemic, ‘Because I was hungry and you gave me something to eat’ (Matthew 25:35a)”.  The event was part of the series “Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogues” produced by the Ecumenical Coordination of Service (Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço: CESE) .

 

“Just as seeds sprout this spring

Love also grows

Hope

Stubbornness

Prophecy

Spring for life

A spring of lively people, who do not tire

Who disagree, who converse

Reflecting on Anderson Augusto’s great work

Which echoes through life

And is not suffocated by death

It’s the right gesture

Lit up by the verses of the late Don Pedro Casaldáliga

Spring this year is a time of yearning”

“And how many are hungry?

In a female circle of strong women

Strong women,

Who help life to spring

Who are indignant

Who mobilize

And work where challenge grows

It’s the fight for land, it’s the fight for life

Resistance, justice

It’s the struggle for social equity

For all of life, for everyone, all those who work in the fields

For the recognition of territories”

 

Notable invitees to the round table dialogue included Mother Nilce of Iansã – Iyá Egbé from Ilê Omolù and Oxum (Coordinator of the National Networks of Afro-Brazilian Religions and Health and – Rede Nacional de Religiões Afro Brasileiras e Saúde – member of the State Council for Women’s Rights – Conselho Estadual dos Direitos da Mulher  – Rio de Janeiro); Juliana Santos (Popular Educator and Activist from the Homeless Movement of Bahia – Movimento Sem Teto da Bahia); Gilvânia Ferreira da Silva (Teacher, Popular Educator and Activist from the Maranhão Landless Rural Workers’ Movement – Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra: MST); and Nancy Cardoso (Methodist Pastor, Feminist Theologian, Philosopher and Training Advisor at the Pastoral Land Commission – Comissão Pastoral da Terra: CPT).

The round table dialogue was mediated by Sônia Mota, CESE’s Executive Director, and started with a greeting from Father Marcus Barbosa, CESE’s President, which reflected: “we are living in the time of creation, creation with its phases, its clamour.  Life is stronger than death, we have already cried a lot, many have lost their way”.  Barbosa brought calm and strength to the audience’s hearts by remembering the Beto Guedes song, “The Sun of Spring”.  “We will remember hope, which springs from faith. Active hope, not only in prayer, but in the concrete gesture of love and for the defence of rights”.

 

“Spring for life

 

Donations, coffee mornings, sharing

For all who are vulnerable

In times of evictions, when there is a structure for deforesting

Agroecology is the lighthouse for a new way of life

In the power of women in the fields and on city peripheries

100 million trees are being planted

Native seeds are shared

Dignified life in the country and city

With education and life in abundance for all

Shared by the kingdom of love and solidarity”

 

Representing the Maranhão MST, popular educator Gilvânia Ferreira da Silva reported a series of violations, noting that rural workers are surprised by these on a daily basis and this is exacerbated by the pandemic: evictions; threats and the deaths of leaders; rural workers having problems accessing credit; and children in the encampments struggling to access the internet.

Nevertheless, she believes in a future of good living, based on MST practices aimed at food security and sovereignty in the countryside and the city, with the distribution of native seeds and coffee mornings to fundraise for street populations during the pandemic.

 

“Spring for life

Food sovereignty and lives threatened

In traditional communities

The destruction of fishing and mangrove communities

The people want to live

They want good living

It is hunger that cries out

Hunger for justice, territory, good living

Hunger for justice

For freedom

A constant and historic struggle

Spring for life

Calls on us to unite our cries”

 

(Marizélia Lopes, from the Movement of Artisanal Fishermen and Women in a statement recorded for the live streaming)

 

“Our hunger is for respect for ancestry”

 

“Spring for life

Sisterhood, respect for life

Struggle for life

For dignified life

Spring for life

Indigenous people have suffered violations through time

And these have accumulated

Indigenous people in the ICU

Yes in the ICU

Vulnerable and at greater risk of dying

It is hunger for life, for territory

Demarcation now!

And we are all invited

To join this struggle

This struggle needs to reverberate in Brazil and in the world.”

 

(Samara Pataxó, lawyer and legal advisor to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil: APIB)

 

“Spring for life

Training

Education

Transformation

Are the basis for changing society

The right to citizenship

The right to housing

It seems invisible but it isn’t

It’s hunger to live well, for good living

Resistance, confrontation

Dignity

Indignation

Hunger for hope

Fed by holding hands

We need to respond

And not be indifferent

There are campaigns

Water availability

The people of the MSTB come together and are satiated

From washing their hands to food

In partnership

The support comes

And the hunger is sated

And you know that book you read, but haven’t looked at lately?

Pick it up, give it, contribute so this sharing can grow

Feed love

Dreams

In a collective way

Hope and care for these children

Zero evictions!

 

The #ZeroEvictions Campaign was one of the slogans mentioned in the talk by Juliana Santos from the Homeless Movement of Bahia.  This national initiative emerged from mobilizations and joint efforts by residents affected and threatened by evictions, by social movements, organizations, collectives and research laboratories around the country.  The initiative came about in reaction to the removals and evictions promoted by governments and private owners (both companies and individuals) that have taken place in both the countryside and the city, from the north to the south of Brazil during the pandemic – precisely when staying at home is considered one of the most secure and efficient ways to protect against and prevent infection.  The aim of the campaign is to halt individual and collective evictions during the pandemic.

“We are this resistance, in the fight for housing.  This right is vital for human beings and permeates all living spaces.  Our hunger is for justice, hunger for a roof”, Juliana emphasized.

In her reflections, the popular educator from the MSTB explained how “God’s kingdom of sharing” is expressed by the movement: from the current book campaign to encourage education for children, young people and adults, to an inspiring number – zero COVID-19 contaminations in the squatter settlements as a result of a consistent and ongoing campaign.

“The pandemic has come and bound together all the existing crises.  It’s all new, but it’s all the same,” said feminist theologian Nancy Cardoso at the beginning of her talk, summarizing in these two phrases the deepening social and economic disparities in Brazil.

Referring to the situation in religion, Nancy condemned the position that God is placed in nowadays: in mining, in agribusiness, in the food industry.  “We must criticize: reposition the churches from the grassroots, from the left, reclaim the Christianity of the poor, come together at the table of equality.  Construct our networks, the people’s web.”

She challenged people of faith “to remove parasites who intervene or to construct new spaces,” indicating pathways to satisfy contemporary “hungers”.

 

“Spring for life

The hope of women who go out to fight and don’t give up

The pastoral practice of the people

Sacred, communion, agroecology

Voices of prophecy

That echo around the communities

The crises that existed

Spring for life

Join forces

To satisfy hunger

And join hands

To hold the meeting at the table of equality

And once again put there

The source and principle of life

The source that is truly life!”  (Joice Santana)

 

THE COMPLETE LIVE STREAMING EVENT IS AVAILABLE HERE (in Portuguese):