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“Fast for Families” Announces National Days to Act, Fast & Pray

CONTACT: Casey Schoeneberger, 202-569-4254
Beatriz Lopez, beatriz.lopez@seiu.org, 202-412-7396

“Fast for Families” Announces National Days to Act, Fast & Pray

Starting December 1, Growing Movement of Fast & Prayer to Increase Pressure
on Speaker Boehner to Act on Immigration Reform

WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Barack Obama’s message of support to its fasters, the “Fast for Families” today declared December 1st to the 3rd to be “National Days to Act, Fast and Pray.” At a press conference in their tent on the National Mall, fasters, including SEIU’s Eliseo Medina, NAKASEC’s Dae Joong Yoong, and DREAMer and Mi Familia Vota’s Cristian Avila – who have gone without food for 15 days – were joined by faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders who committed their support for the days of fasting and prayer.

“Five of us began our fast on the National Mall. Over the last 15 days, 103 solidarity fasters have joined us in DC and thousands more have begun to fast around the country and around the world,” said Eliseo Medina, former Secretary –Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “Now, we are asking the American people to join with us in a national day of fasting and prayer between December 1st and December 3rd to raise our collective voices to create a moral force that will convince Congress that the time to act is now,” Medina continued.

NAKASEC’s Dae Joong Yoon said that “Immigration reform is not about politics or policy, it is about people. The human cost of our broken system has created moral urgency that demands action. That is why we are fasting.”

DREAMer and Mi Familia Vota’s Cristian Avila said that due to our broken immigration system, “Every day there are children, innocent children, crying themselves to sleep because daddy or mommy didn’t come home. From that day on, those children will have to learn to live without a parent figure. That’s one less parent to help them with their homework, to make them dinner, to take care of them when there are sick. That’s one less shoulder to cry on. Is this what we want as a nation?”

The efforts the fasters on the National Mall, along with the 40-day fast by NHCLC‘s Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, have generated international attention and inspired thousands to fast for immigration reform across the country and around the world. Speaking at the press conference on behalf of Reverend Rodriguez, Anthony Suarez said that Rodriguez has “given a clarion call to members of the NHCLC to have one million of our constituents join us in fasting for reform.”

Among the other speakers at the announcement event was Reverend Jim Wallis, who said, “In the Bible, we’re told that when we’ve done everything, to stand and pray. We’ve done everything we can – politically – to bring about immigration reform. And just as the season of Advent is about waiting for the Christ who tell us to welcome the stranger, we are waiting and praying expectantly for commonsense reform. We need it now.”

“Giving thanks, even in the midst of struggle and hardship, is a radical act of hope and deep faith,” said Reverend Alvin Herring, Director of Training for the PICO National Network. “That is why on this week of Thanksgiving, I joined my brothers and sisters who are fasting for citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans. I am inspired by their demonstrations of faith and their courage to live out that faith through their sacrifice.”


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