Fast For Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship
By: Samantha Howland
A few feet away from the steps of the U.S. Capital, on the National Mall, immigration activists launched” Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship.” A variety of leaders and activists, originating from faith groups, workers unions, immigration activists, civic organizations, community groups and others began this effort on November 2012. Fast for Families is an indefinite hunger strike or fast to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
The movement is comprised of core fasters, those who continuously obtain from all food and liquid, except water, until they are medically advised to break the fast and solidarity fasters, those who choose to fast for a specific period of time. In addition, Fast for Families has a community tent set up at the National Mall at the intersection of 3rd St. NW and Jefferson St. NW, hosting events each day to disseminate information about the injustices of the current immigration system, the need for comprehensive immigration reform, ways to remedy this situation and the work of Fast for Families. In addition, individuals and groups are encouraged to share personal stories of those who have been affected by deportation or the perilous journey to the United States. They have also placed wooden crosses outside the tent to represent the officially reported deaths on the U.S./Mexican border of those that have been killed or died while trying to cross into the U.S. Visitors are encouraged to meet with Fast for Families staff and supports and write messages of solidarity and inspiration for those that are fasting.
On December 3, four immigration reform advocates, who have been fasting on the National Mall since November 12 – Eliseo Medina (SEIU), Dae Joong Yoon (NAKASEC), Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) and Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners) passed their fast onto a new group of advocates, after having fasted for 22 days. During their fast, important members of the U.S. government and Congress visited the Fast for Families tent and expressed their support of the movement and need for comprehensive immigration reform. Notable guests have included: President Obama, First Lady Obama, Vice-President Biden, representatives from the Congressional Black Caucus, and representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, amongst others.
To connect with Fast for Families visit their website at http://fast4families.org/ or follow them on Twitter at @fast4families. They are constantly organizing new events and demonstrations and encourage the public to participate and become involved.