Jubilee at Walmart

by Anthony Zuba:

I get updates all the time from Interfaith Worker Justice. Well, IWJ called for prayer vigils this week at Walmart stores across the U.S. It's the 50th anniversary of Walmart, so in the spirit of the biblical jubilee, religious groups have been calling for a "Jubilee at Walmart," with living wages and better treatment of the company's 1.4 million workers.

Jubilee at WalmartThe Capuchin postulants do most of their shopping at the Walmart in Hays, next door to us in Victoria. We really have no other option. Many of our groceries come from Walmart, too. As regular customers, we have a stake in Walmart, and we must accept responsibility for tacitly approving, with our dollars, the business practices of the company. (For a "people's perspective" on the impact of Walmart on workers, women, the environment, and small businesses, among other issues, click here.)

My conscience would not let me rest. So, I organized a prayer vigil for Jubilee at Walmart with my postulant brothers.

I was a little nervous about doing this. First of all, a prayer vigil for economic justice in a red state? Nuts, right? Most of the people here in Hays like -- no, love -- Walmart, which has been in business here for almost 30 years and employs about 700 people just at this one store. And although public prayer is a part of the Kansas culture, I don't think they've seen anything like this kind of a prayer before!

Second, most of the postulants never did anything like this before. I know the risks involved in prayer actions, and I know how stressful it can be confronting the almighty dollar with the almighty God for the first time. Nevertheless, seven Capuchin postulants formed our group. Bless them for their courage, doing something they never did before.

Check out Anthony Zuba's summary of the event.

You shall treat this fiftieth year as sacred. You shall proclaim liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to your own property, each of you to your own family. Leviticus 25:10

This piece was originally posted by Anthony Zuba on his personal blog, From a Brother. Zuba has worked as a community organizer, editor and teacher. He is now in the process of becoming a Capuchin Franciscan friar. He supported IWJ's week of action calling for Jubilee at Walmart for more information about how to join in the call for Jubilee, join our Walmart Action team.