The New York Times

The Gender Politics of Fasting

BOTH CESAR CHAVEZ AND SIMONE WEIL STARVED THEIR BODIES FOR SPIRITUAL AND POLITICAL REASONS. WHY IS ONLY ONE OF THEM REMEMBERED AS ANOREXIC?

Last summer I took part in a 24-hour fast, as part of a “Break Bread Not Families” prayer and fasting chain. I spent a day not eating, in spiritual solidarity with the 2,400 children who had been separated from a parent at the border. Many of these children were being detained a few miles from my house in McAllen, Tex., where their parents were signing deportation papers on the promise of reunification — and where President Donald Trump visited on Jan. 10. The hosting organization was LUPE, or La Unión del Pueblo Entero, a nonprofit organization that works on local issues in South Texas and was founded by the labor activists Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez in 1989.

Chavez — who died in 1993 and is considered

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