Hi all! It's been a hot minute since I wrote a blog post, but here it is!
I'm a Christian, a follower of Jesus. For me, one of the most sacred times of the year is Lent and Easter season. Lent, the time to prepare for the Resurrection and then Resurrection, of course! It is very easy for me to celebrate this time. It is also easy for the youth in detention to celebrate being Christian--95% of all the volunteers that come to detention are Christian. That means that it is hard for youth of other traditions to feel like they are being served. Luckily, we have Chaplain Robert Blanton, a Muslim chaplain, to aid us with our Muslim youth. But, the diversity of youth does not stop at Muslim or Christian. We have Jewish, Pagan, Wiccan, Inter-Faith, among others. It is my job to advocate for each and every youth so they can get their needs met.
This year, the biggest advocacy we have done so far is getting our Muslim youth's needs met regarding Ramadan. Ramadan started April 1 and ends May 1. During this sacred observance, Muslims around the world fast from sun-up to sun-down. That means about 5:30 in the morning for rising and about 8:30 for setting. No food, no water. Additionally, the fasting includes abstaining from anger. In fact, avoiding anger is considered a priority.
We have one youth who has dedicated himself to fasting during Ramadan this year. He is a fantastic young man--smart and funny. Also, very determined. He has been doing a great job! However, it started off shakily. He needs daily medication which was typically administered about breakfast time -- well after sun-up. Our job was to help detention imagine that they could indeed have someone get to him early, before sun-up, and give him his meds! And, thankfully, they did it. It is the first time that I know of that this accommodation has been made. I am grateful for the leadership who imagined creatively with us and were willing to bend.
Easter goes from Resurrection Sunday to just before Pentecost. Imagine if all the Christians around the world fasted from anger as those Muslims observing Ramadan do?! Wouldn't it be fantastic!
I am grateful to all of you for being willing to journey with us. Together, we help youth see the giftedness that is inherent within each one.