Left Justified: Native Americans and hunger walks

Fall fell fairly fast, and I am not ready for it. Are you? There are two activities that I look forward to this time of year: Rockford Peace & Justice’s Columbus Day program on Native Americans (7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St.) and the CROP Hunger Walk. This year’s Walk is on Sunday, Oct. 19, starting at 2 p.m. from the Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St. One raises awareness of the Natives who were here first to welcome Columbus to this great country, then they were systematically slaughtered for the land and riches. The other program raises funds for worldwide and local hunger relief programs. The Walk may atone for Columbus’s sins. This year’s Native speaker comes all the way from Arizona. She is a Navajo who became the first Native American woman ordained a United Methodist minister. She was ordained in 1988 and quickly rose through the ranks of the church hierarchy and now serves on too many boards, commissions and committees. The Reverend Tweedy Sombrero (yes, that is her real name) will speak to this Monday night’s Coffee Talk crowd (7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St.), and you are welcome! I asked her what she’d like to say, and she responded, “Let’s leave it up to the group.” But I do know she has strong feelings against using Natives as mascots, specifically, she thinks Chief Illiniwek should be retired from the University of Illinois’ sports department. I think the Navajos have a fight brewing with the Energy Department’s plan to bury radioactive waste somewhere on their land. I know someone’s digging it up—uranium, that is. Rev. Sombrero is a very spiritual woman who can share much about her heritage and her faith. If you use the bike path, you’ll be lucky not to get run over by the various nonprofit walks. My favorite is the CROP Hunger Walk, and this year I plan on making the full circuit. Usually, I just help set up, recruit walkers, and take it down. But I’m actually raising funds and walking because the need is so great, not only in countries taken over by the U.S. military, but also in the rest of the world—and here in our hometown. So if you know someone who is walking, please sponsor them well. Write the check beforehand; if they turn in $50 at the Walk, they get a free T-shirt. Any walker who brings in more than $200 gets a special pin, and their amount is matched by an anonymous donor. This Walk has been going since 1985, when I was hired as Rockford Urban Ministries’ director. It’s part of a nationwide Church World Service program. The money goes to overseas hunger relief programs; 25 percent of it stays in Rockford because we need it just as much. Call Rockford Urban Ministries if you need more info, a sponsor record or to send money. I wish everyone a happy fall and a mild winter, although I think we’re in for a doozy. Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!