By Jueseppi B.
Gathering in the Spirit of Unity: The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform
Today, the President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform. The President and the First Lady gave their support for their fight for family unity this Thanksgiving weekend, as families across the country come together to spend time with loved ones.
Since November 12, fasters from “Fast For Families” have abstained from all food except water in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to take a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and I have also visited Fast For families in recent weeks.
The fasters shared their stories and described empty stomachs but full hearts as they received an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3,000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.
The President and the First Lady thanked Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform. He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics. And it is the brave commitment to change from advocates like them that will pressure the House to finally act on immigration reform.
This Thanksgiving, as friends, family, and community gather in the spirit of unity, we lend our support to those fighting for making commonsense immigration reform a reality. We will stand with them every step of the way to make sure that we bring coherence to our immigration laws, and pass a common sense reform that is consistent with our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship
On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on theNational Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
The fast in Washington, DC will be in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fasts, events, and actions already underway in key congressional districts across the country. Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
- Calling your Member of Congress to support commonsense immigration reform or to support H.R. 15
- Getting as many people as possible to fast in solidarity with the Washington, DC fasters by fasting in large groups in public places so we can bring attention to this important issue
- Highlighting the moral crisis caused by the broken immigration system
- Raising public awareness of the suffering and sacrifice immigrants face in our country
About The Fast
What we hope to accomplish
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.
Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.
Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.
By fasting, we hope to follow the examples of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to touch the compassion and sensibilities of our elected leaders to address the moral crisis of an immigration system that fails to comport with our national values, our creeds and belief in justice.
It’s time to once and for all pass true immigration reform.
Read the Fasters’ Declaration
November 27, 2013Richmond, VA
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations
West County Detention Facility
5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
Contact: Rev. Deborah Lee @ email@example.com
November 28, 2013Los Angeles, CA – 10:00am PST
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes
Immigrant Mothers, Children’s March and Prayer Vigil to LA Federal Downtown Building (Olympic Avenue and Broadway) | Sponsored by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes
December 1, 2013Nationwide
Asking whole network to Fast
* Official ‘Fast for Families’ events
November 21, 2013
07:00 PM EST
Over the many years that I have worked in the Latino community and the civil rights movement, I have seen the photo many times, perhaps more than any other photo. Often it is dog-eared from having been on a wall for many years, or pulled out of a wallet many times. It’s a photo ofCesar Chavez, weak from fasting over many weeks. Next to him is Robert Kennedy, who visited him and offered his support and solidarity during the fast. Chavez is leaning heavily on Kennedy, who has his hand on Chavez’ arm; one is smiling weakly, the other brightly. The photo is dear to people who remember the years of Chavez organizing farmworkers, bringing his tremendous moral authority to their struggle.
The photo has been on my mind a great deal this week, as another fighter for justice, my friend Eliseo Medina, begins the second week of the Fast for Families, which is taking place in a tent near the U.S. Capitol. He, along with Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Dae Joong Yoon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Cristian Avila, and Marco Grimaldo are fasting to draw attention to the urgent need for immigration reform.
I had the honor of visiting with the fasters and hearing their stories on day 9 of their water-only fast, and I was deeply moved by their moral commitment. They described why immigration reform matters in their lives, as it does for Christian, a DREAMer who told me he is fasting for his own chance at citizenship, to honor his parents, and to call attention to the need for immigration reform to keep his family from the threat of separation. They shared with me their hopes for achieving an immigration reform that feels within reach, because the House of Representatives has the support it needs to pass legislation, and the coalition supporting it has unprecedented depth and strength. They described empty stomachs but full hearts as they receive an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.
For my part, I was honored to share that President Obamais deeply committed to this fight; he knows that immigration reform is right for the country, for the economy, and for our communities all around the country. He will keep pushing until the job is done, and he and his team take great inspiration from the sacrifice of a handful of advocates who are following in the tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi to bring compassion and commitment to this debate.
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