As communities across the country continue to increase their advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform and encourage the House of Representatives to take action, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders launched a “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship” in mid-November.
Leaders committed to a daily fast in front of the U.S. Capitol and at locations across the country to send a clear and visible message to Congress about the moral crisis caused by our country’s broken immigration system and its impact on millions of families. Jesuit high school and university students in Washington DC for the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice had the opportunity to visit the fasters during Ignatian Family Advocacy Day on Monday, November 19th.
The fast in Washington, DC builds on the pro-immigration reform movement’s momentum, with dozens of local and solidarity fasts, events and actions already underway across the country. Fasters are being joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
“For me this fast is to renew my commitment to the cause of immigrant justice,” said Eliseo Medina, former Secretary Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), to a group of students who visited him in the tent. “Doing without food is not easy. But there is a deeper hunger within us. A hunger for an end to a system that creates such misery among those that come here to escape poverty and violence in search of the American dream, yet too often find death or mistreatment. That is why I fast; not out of anger or despair, but out of faith, hope, and love.”
Prior to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice, ISN’s Chris Kerr had a chance to meet with the fasters at their tent as well. ”The fasters commitment is inspiring and demonstrates the deep need our country has for a humane and comprehensive reform of our immigration policies,” said Kerr. “Before leaving the tent, I prayed with the fasters for their continued safety and for our congressional leaders to be moved by their witness.”
The students and staff at Creighton University’s Center for Service and Justice fasted for immigration reform from November 11th to 15. Haley Warren, Maria Benevento, Kelly Sullivan, Cat Keating, Courtney Kern, and Ken Reed-Bouley participated in in the rolling fast on campus.