We fast in solidarity with the people of Darfur because they do not have a choice. We fast as a personal expression of outrage at a world that has allowed the suffering of millions of innocent people. We fast because as we simply watched, Darfur’s defenseless people were forced into wretched camps where today they are facing starvation and disease. We fast because those in positions of authority who know what is right and just, could and should do more to alleviate their suffering and bring peace, protection, and justice to the people of Sudan. We fast for Darfur’s courageous people —because we yearn for a world where human rights are respected and a life of dignity is the legacy for every man, woman and child.

Fasting by those who have so much is a way of changing their eating habits to create a sense of solidarity with others who are needy or struggling. For those of us who have so much, it becomes increasingly more difficult to even imagine what many people around us and throughout the world face from day to day. People who have little if any food. People for whom pain is a way of life. People who have nothing. Westerners can go virtually anywhere they choose and enjoy anything that they want. But many people in the world simply cannot. How can we begin to sense, even in the most rudimentary way, what it might be like to genuinely want for something? We can fast. We can deny ourselves, and perhaps even share what we have saved through our fasting with others. Fasting exposes us to want. Eating for others in this way leads us to compassion. After all, if our miniscule acts of self-denial cause us discomfort, imagine the pain of those who suffer far more than we do.