Happy 83rd, Publix!

[hupso_hide][hupso title=”Video by author, theologian Brian McLaren kicks off Fair Food Nation’s wishes for Publix’s 83rd birthday” url=”http://ciw-online.org/?p=16144″]

Video by author, theologian Brian McLaren kicks off Fair Food Nation’s wishes for Publix’s 83rd birthday… 

One of the Fair Food Nation’s greatest nonagenarians — and a very kind man — the late Stetson Kennedy, gives Publix a piece of his mind in 2010.

Think of the 80 year olds you know in your life.  Undoubtedly, in some way or another, their long life on this earth has changed them over the years.  Are they wiser?  More patient?  Kinder? 

In his much-circulated commencement speech to graduates at Syracuse University earlier this year, the writer George Saunders tells the students that the things he most regrets in his life are what he calls his “failures of kindness,”  those moments “when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering,” and he failed to help.  But though he can’t get those moments back, Saunders continues, there is “one thing in our favor,” because we can grow kinder over time:

“… some of this “becoming kinder” happens naturally, with age.  It might be a simple matter of attrition:  as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish – how illogical, really.  We come to love other people and are thereby counter-instructed in our own centrality.  We get our butts kicked by real life, and people come to our defense, and help us, and we learn that we’re not separate, and don’t want to be.  We see people near and dear to us dropping away, and are gradually convinced that maybe we too will drop away (someday, a long time from now).  Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving.  I think this is true.  The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”

“Mostly Love, now.”  Sadly these aren’t the words farmworkers in Immokalee would choose to describe Publix, even though today marks the grocery giant’s 83rd birthday.  

According to Wikipedia, “George Jenkins opened the first Publix market in Winter Haven, Florida, on Sept. 6, 1930.”  And in the eternal hope that even Publix might “become kinder” with age, the Fair Food Nation is wishing Publix a happy 83rd birthday, with a twist…

Brian McLaren — the nationally known author, activist for social justice, and public theologian whom Time magazine called one of “the 25 most influential Evangelicals in America“– picked up his guitar and sang his message to Publix on the company’s big day, and fortunately for us, he filmed it:


Inspired to wish Publix a happy birthday yourself? Make sure to visit Publix’s Facebook page today — or tag them in a Tweet — to let them know that it’s high time to join the Fair Food Nation. Here’s a few sample Tweets:

@Publix, it’s your birthday. May you gain wisdom with age and finally join the @CIW’s Fair Food Program http://bit.ly/15zAOki

@Publix: Happy birthday to you, you’re long overdue, says @brianmclaren — join the @CIW’s Fair Food Program! http://bit.ly/15zAOki

Here’s to hoping that for Publix’s 84th, we will be celebrating together.