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Statement of “Fast for Families”

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2013
Contact: Beatriz Lopez, beatriz.lopez@seiu.org, 202-412-7396
Casey Schoeneberger, cschoeneberger@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-569-4254

WASHINGTON, DC – After passing their fast to a new group fasters, 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) – issued the following statement:

“Today, we transition our movement to a new phase. For 22 days, we have fasted in the shadow of the Capitol to call attention to the human suffering caused by our broken immigration system. We believe we have succeeded in raising awareness about families being ripped apart by deportations, immigrants dying in the desert and millions of people living in fear every day.

“As we fasted, the American people responded with overwhelming support and solidarity. Thousands chose to fast and pray, reigniting the power of the immigration reform movement and strengthening our spirits and determination.

“However, Speaker Boehner is not listening. He has failed to act and move forward with immigration reform legislation in the House. Several times we have invited the Speaker to meet with us on the National Mall to discuss ways we can come together and fix a system that takes such a terrible human toll. He has not responded. We still hold hope that he will find it in his heart to make his words real when he said that immigration reform is absolutely not dead.

“During our fast, we took great inspiration from those who visited us, including President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Joe Biden. Their encouragement, along with the support of thousands of people who believe that now is the time that we must enact commonsense immigration reform, kept our spirits high as our bodies grew weaker. We thank them for their support.

“Our community has demonstrated and upheld a high moral power and family values through fast and prayer. Our movement does not have a working calendar deadline. We’ll continue and we’ll be even stronger. We have faith more American sisters and brothers will join us. We’ll make sure our lawmakers listen to the peoples’ voice and make them accountable in the coming months.

“While we end our personal fast, the battle for reform goes on. We will take 1 to 2 days to regain our strength and we will return to the tent and continue our fight for a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants in our country. Today, we pass the ‘Fast for Families’ on to dedicated advocates for immigration reform who will carry on our movement. We offer our support and encouragement as they move to the next phase of our fast.”