27 October 2009

wow, what a night.

i thought i was going to spend my evening with some classmates at the alachua county fair, shooting photos for an assignment.
thankfully, the weather was terrible and we postponed it,
because i was now able to attend the UF Student Senate meeting instead.
and tonight, they were debating a resolution urging Aramark (a major food provider) to meet with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

i wasn't really sure what to expect; i had never been to a senate meeting before.
but, as soon as i arrived, i realized this was a far bigger deal than i had thought.

there were about 200 people there. half of which were UF senators.
immediately, it was brought to our attention that those of us who were there in solidarity with the CIW, were going to be there for quite some time.
one student senator mentioned that these meetings tend to go until 1 or 2 a.m. (it started at 7:30).
not to mention, the first motion made was to push our bill further into the meeting.

the first part was public debate, which was incredible!
so many people came out to support the resolution and say a few words.

it was incredibly frustrating though to watch a handful of people make snide comments and remarks under their breath or roll their eyes when students were speaking about the situation in Immokalee.
unfortunately, this one guy was directly in my line of vision.
and i am not proud to say that i spent a lot of my time being unbelievably angry with him.
i had to continually pray for a heart of mercy and grace.

thankfully, i didn't have to sit and listen to the first couple of bills, including funding for the gator skim club's special event. and yes, skim as in skimboarding.
(and no, i'm not even going to go on about how ridiculous it is that this was motioned to be debated before the CIW bill.)
a friend had brought wendell berry's "sex, freedom and economy," which was quite nice to read instead of dreadfully listening to funding for beach trips.
(i'll have to post some of berry's inspiring words later.)

anyways, about 3 hours later the CIW/Aramark resolution bill was brought to the floor for debate.
when it was previously debated in the past, a majority had voted for it, but a majority wasn't enough. we needed 2/3's of the vote.
so this time around, the debate was a fairly heated one.

several sponsors and authors of the bill began by presenting it to the senate once again.
next, was the question and answer section.
then the pros and cons.

all i could do was pray.
and pray.
and pray.

i prayed unceasingly as students debated back and forth on whether or not we should support ending modern-day slavery.

i prayed that the Spirit would move in those whose hearts had been hardened.
i prayed that the Father would enlighten those whose minds had been conditioned.
i prayed that His will would be done.
i prayed for peace. and justice. and mercy.

after what had seemed like the longest debate i've ever witnessed,
the decision was made. 57 to 19.

we won!

i can't even begin to explain the joy that filled my insides.
it was a tiny, yet sweet victory. so sweet.


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